Cobram and Barooga’s football and netball clubs will come together on March 28 to host guest speaker and Outside The Locker Room chief executive Jake Edwards.
The former Carlton footballer tours country Victoria, speaking about his personal mental health battle and encouraging men to talk about what they might be going through with their mates.
Edwards can track his family’s involvement in AFL-VFL back to his great-grandfather and is the son of former Collingwood star ‘‘Butch’’ Edwards.
He played five games with Carlton before problems with depression and drug abuse took their toll and he does not want country footballers to feel the same way he did.
Starting OTLR four years ago, Mr Edwards said there were two things he wanted the organisation to represent.
The first to offer on going support to individuals and their families rather than just becoming ‘another mental health story or program’. The second, a legacy he could leave.
Mr Edwards has been touring Victoria, including visits to Echuca, Shepparton and Bendigo in the first 12 months of the program.
And now it is Cobram-Barooga’s turn.
Event organiser Sasha Parish hoped Mr Edwards’ story resonated with the local audience.
‘‘He came to Yarrawonga last year and he was honest about his story and said things not a lot of men would typically want to talk about,’’ she said.
‘‘We have made it a club commitment for our players from the thirds up to the seniors and other clubs from around the district are organising buses to come — which is fantastic.’’
Ms Parish said the clubs hoped to help shape the minds of the younger players and demonstrate to the senior players just what one of their mates could be going through.
‘‘Boys that are 15 or 16 years old are at that pivotal age — they may be looking to play professional AFL or just are unsure what they’re going to do in terms of a career goal and it can be a challenging time for them,’’ she said.
‘‘We wanted to target the juniors but also show people who may not understand just what someone is going through.
‘‘And the more we get along to the event the merrier. It’s not a money spinner for either club.’’
●The Outside The Locker Room event is on Thursday, March 28, at 7pm at Barooga Golf Club. Tickets are $10 each and $15 for families with finger food provided. To book, contact Sasha Parish on 0448 375 531.
●If you or someone you know needs support phone Lifeline on 131114, beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978.