The Boomanulla Raiders welcomed former Raiders captain Alan Tongue last week as he shared his “Stop. Think. Say No To Family Violence” program.
The 2017 ACT Australian of the Year took the time to speak to both the Boomanulla men’s and ladies league tag sides during their mid-week training session.
Tongue took over the training session as he ran through plenty of training drills to help emphasise the statistics of family violence before taking the team into the sheds for a presentation.
Long time Boomanulla player, Peter Williams, was pleased to see the former Country representative teaching his side about the subject of family violence.
“I just think it was great,” Williams said. “It was a really good learning curve for some of the boys. There’s a lot of young fathers in our group so we found it very rewarding.”
Boomanulla Ladies League Tag captain Amie Dekantios also believed that Tongue’s program was invaluable for the playing group.
“It was fantastic to have someone of that stature come and speak to us regarding such a high issue in society,” Dekantios said. “It’s important that everyone is aware of [family violence].
“Until you see the actual statistics, nobody really talks about it so it is important for Alan to come and speak to people - and to come to a local footy club, that’s great.”
With one in three women having experienced physical violence, Tongue, a father of three daughters, was convinced to start his program to help educate people on the subject.
“We have a huge problem in our country and across the world,” Tongue said. “Those statistics of one in three women being affected by physical violence is something that worries me as a father.
“I don’t want my children growing up in a community like that and I don’t want other people’s children growing up in a culture like that.”
Since retiring from rugby league in 2011, Tongue has gone on to deliver his program across a variety of schools and has also become an ambassador for the NRL’s Voice Against Violence Program.
“I have an opportunity though the values that the game has taught me, an opportunity to get in front of people and have these sessions with the use of movement, activity, sport and rugby league as a way of connecting with people,” Tongue said.
Having already delivered the program to the Gunning Roos, Tongue hopes to deliver the program to all of the rugby league clubs in the Canberra Region.
“I was fortunate that through the Canberra Raiders and Dixon Advisories, I was able to receive some funding to run the programs which I am really grateful for,” Tongue said. “It’s an opportunity where I would like to speak to all of the local football clubs.”
If you would like to have Alan’s program presented at your club, contact Mark Vergano at firstname.lastname@example.org.