Pat Cronin Round 2023


MEDIA RELEASE                

May 2023

1,800 BFNL players to take a stand against the Coward Punch          

Up to 1,800 players in the Bendigo Football Netball League (BFNL) will take part in a specially themed round this weekend (May 5-7) dedicated to the memory of a teenager who died after a coward punch attack while helping his mates during a night out in Melbourne.

Footballers and netballers in all games will wear yellow armbands – the official colour of Melbourne-based anti-violence charity, the Pat Cronin Foundation, which was established following 19-year-old Pat Cronin’s death in 2016.

BFNL General Manager Cameron Tomlins said the initiative – now in its second year – was a valuable measure in raising awareness of the impacts of violence, and especially the dangers of the coward punch.

“What we’ve seen since coming out of Covid are heightened emotions and this goes hand in hand with our efforts as a responsible sports association to educate players about appropriate responses to anger and aggression – both on and off the field,” he said.

“Since forming a partnership with the Pat Cronin Foundation last year we’ve had many teams sit through its Be Wise educational presentations, delivered here in Bendigo.

“These sessions have really had an impact. Once players have attended a presentation they invariably recommend it to other clubs in the League.”

Foundation director Matt Cronin, the father of Pat, said Bendigo was just one of three Victorian leagues taking part in the round this weekend, with the Northern Football Netball League and Essendon District Football League also involved.

“Our partnerships with the leagues are important because we believe that reaching young people, and particularly young men, at a grassroots level will make the most difference in changing attitudes to social violence,” he said.

“The Foundation is working towards reducing the alarming number of people – well into the thousands – hospitalised each year in Australia due to senseless violence in public settings.

“By giving young people everywhere an understanding of Pat’s story, raising awareness of the impact of violence and offering practical tips and strategies to deal with anger and aggression, we hope to reduce the statistics.”

Reigning BFNL Senior Football premiers Gisborne will take on Kangaroo Flat at Dower Park at 2.20pm Saturday in the feature match of the round. In the A-Grade netball, a tight encounter is expected between Gisborne and Kangaroo Flat – happening at the same time.

AFL Central Victoria and the BFNL would like acknowledge Barry Plant Bendigo for their support in this initiative. Barry Plant are a major sponsor of AFL Central Victoria, the BFNL and the Pat Cronin Foundation. The three organisations are proud to share this connection and share the same values in stamping out the coward punch.

For more information or to partner with the Foundation, visit You can also follow the Foundation on Facebook at   and Instagram at



About the Pat Cronin Foundation   

The Pat Cronin Foundation is dedicated to ending the Coward Punch. Through awareness, education, research and tools, it works with schools, clubs and community groups to empower young people to never to use violence, to be wise, think carefully and act kindly.

For more information, please contact:

Darren Grant                                                                        Tom King

Media Manager                                                                   Commercial, Media & Operations Manager

Pat Cronin Foundation                                                        AFL Central Victoria

M: 0400 065 068                                                                 M: 0439 829 650

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