First R U OK? Round success across entire region

Image courtesy of the Balgowlah Suns.


Over the weekend, Australian Football participants pulled up their yellow socks in support of the inaugural AFL NSW/ACT R U OK? Round.

The round, established to inspire and empower the Australian Football community to meaningfully connect with people around them, was the first simultaneous initiative run across all 14 leagues in one weekend.

AFL NSW/ACT CEO Sam Graham said the leagues were proud to show a united front in relation to the conversation around positive peer support.

“Our leagues and clubs provide great environments and supportive frameworks, where mateship and loyalty are at the core of our game,” said Graham.

“R U OK? Round will open even more avenues for awareness for mental health, and challenge everyone within our game to make sure that they ask that important question – are you ok?”

GWS GIANTS AFL Women’s Vice Captain and proud R U OK? supporter, Alicia Eva welcomed the awareness the Round will bring to the AFL community.

“The R U OK? Round is a great initiative by AFL NSW/ACT because it reminds us all to stop and reflect on how often we ask the people in our life, “R U OK?,” said Eva.

“In the football space this year we have seen a number of high-profile players speak out. Life’s ups and downs don’t discriminate, and this Round is a great reminder to check in on your mates, your loved ones and even yourself, not just during the R U OK? Round, but in your day-to-day life.”

To support the Round, home teams wore R U OK? socks and all teams were provided with discussion points, information cards and wristbands.

UTS Australian Football Club were one of the 14 clubs playing in the Round this weekend. Club President Kaizaad Mehta spoke of the pride the club took in championing the R U OK? message.

“As a diverse and inclusive club, we see our role in not simply providing a platform to play sport but in truly creating a positive culture and network for our members,” said Mehta.

“We have a responsibility as a club, as well as individuals to look out for and take care of each other. I think it’s really important to empower our people to ask the question of someone they might be worried about. Almost all of us are touched by this and it makes all the difference to know that its ok to feel that way, and you are supported by people that care for you.”

CEO of R U OK? Katherine Newton is grateful for the awareness that was raised across the 14 leagues.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with AFL NSW/ACT and spread the R U OK? message through its vibrant community,” Newton said

“We know that both playing in a team and supporting a team can provide a sense of belonging. Not only for those playing but also for those in non-playing roles.

“We want AFL NSW/ACT staff, players and fans to look out for each other on and off the field and trust their gut when they notice the signs that someone might be struggling with life.”

The R U OK? and AFL/NSW partnership will continue beyond this weekend’s Round, creating further initiatives to inspire and empower the AFL community to meaningfully connect with the people around them.

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