Refugees experience live AFL for first time

Written by Leyla Kaya.


In recent weeks, more than 30 refugees attended their first ever live AFL match when they saw the GWS GIANTS defeat Collingwood by three points at Spotless Stadium.

The Refugee Supporter Group was an initiative created by AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador, Ash Nugent and his drive to get a local group of refugees to see one of Australia’s most loved past times – Aussie Rules.

AFL NSW/ACT Multicultural Programs Manager, Nickie Flambouras says that she could not think of a better way to introduce new Australian’s to AFL, than to invite them to a live match.

“We want as many new migrants and refugees to understand AFL as possible. We want them to be able to experience the lively atmosphere of the games,” said Flambouras.

The GWS GIANTS have supported this AFL NSW/ACT led initiative by providing merchandise and tickets to each of the GIANTS’ home games in 2017, specifically for those who have arrived as part of Australia’s Humanitarian Program.

Attendees at the Round 8 match included people from Iraq, Syria, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan, with most having only been in Australia for less than 12 months.

Many of those who attended the game were also participants of the CareerSeekers New Australian Internship Program – a service that connects tertiary-qualified refugees looking to restart their careers in Australia.

Attending the match provided the refugees an opportunity to understand a part of Australian life that many Australian’s hold close. On top of connecting with a favourite Australian activity, the refugees were also able to gain a live education on the game.

Refugee Supporter Group participant, Safwan was excited to see a match live after hearing so much about AFL in his community.

“Since I arrived in Australia with my family in June 2016, I always heard about AFL,” Safwan said.

“When I first watched this sport, I could not understand what it was until my friends invited me to attend a game at Spotless Stadium.

“I realised this popular sport shows the spirit of one team, the power, motivation and the stability to achieve your goals.”

Yirgalem, who is also apart of the group, said that seeing the game live also provided a platform to connect with other people, and enjoy the game together.

“I enjoyed meeting new people,” said Yirgalem.

“The match was very tough and challenging, but our team the GIANTS ended up winning!”

If you would like to participate in Multicultural AFL programs such as the Refugee Supporter Group, please contact AFL NSW/ACT Multicultural Programs Manager, Nickie Flambouras at