Gold Coast Suns Dedicate AFL Game Against Fremantle To Domestic Violence Survivors

The Suns are “drawing a line in the sand” and pledge to take the lead in helping to eradicate domestic and family violence not just on the Gold Coast but across Australia.

This week, the state government announced it will enact the criminalization of coercive control by next year, and Suns players have never felt the weight of responsibility as role models again.

The team has dubbed Sunday’s game against Fremantle the “Round to RizeUp.”

Players donated money to RizeUp, a Gold Coast charity to help families and women fleeing violent households.

They also traded Sherrins for hammers and screwdrivers, buying and building furniture to go to a shelter.

Win or lose, it is the meaning behind the match that resonates deeply with the playing group.

Gold Coast Suns vice captain Sam Collins assembles furniture donated to a domestic violence shelter.
Gold Coast Suns vice captain Sam Collins assembles furniture donated to a domestic violence shelter.ABC News: Steve Keen

“I’m sure there are a lot of players in the room who, whether they know it or not, have been affected by domestic violence in one form or another throughout their childhood in their lives to date,” said Vice-Captain Suns. Sam Collins.

†[We are] draw a line in the sand, to make sure we take care of what we can control, but also to get the message out and make other people better people.

“We are role models for the community, so we need to make sure we do everything we can to take the lead in eradicating domestic violence.”

Gold Coast Suns players assemble furniture that they donated to DV organization RizeUp.
Gold Coast Suns players assemble furniture that they donated to DV organization RizeUp.ABC News: Steve Keen

RizeUp estimated it cost $5,000 to set up one of the shelters.

The players not only help physically, but they are committed to change by conducting player education sessions with domestic violence survivors and members of the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Task Force.

“If we can see and hear stories of families who can get out of a really difficult and inappropriate situation and find a safe place to go, that’s what we love to hear the most.

“By building flatpack furniture, we can really help someone tomorrow in the form of a furnished home that is ready to move in, to be safe and to restart their lives.”

Gold Coast Sun's vice-captain Sam Collins hands over a check from the players for RizeUp.
Gold Coast Suns vice captain Sam Collins hands over a check from the players for RizeUp.Delivered

Suns CEO Mark Evans said they wanted to be part of the community and “more than just a football club”.

“This is a real problem for our community,” he said.

“We’ll never know who they are, but they’ll have a business card to say the Suns were here to help.”

RizeUp chief executive Nicolle Edwards said Southport, on the Gold Coast, is the busiest domestic violence court in Queensland.

The organization supported between eight and ten families a week in the Southeast alone.

Ms. Edwards said it would take three to four hours to furnish a house, with players often contacting the charity to see if they need help operating the furniture truck.

Players will wear blue socks for the 'Round to RizeUp' in their clash with Fremantle on Sunday in Carrara.
Players will wear blue socks for the ‘Round to RizeUp’ in their clash with Fremantle on Sunday in Carrara.Delivered

“It’s a big logistical beast behind the scenes and to really get the team stuck and helping them buy the furniture, build them and then help set up the houses makes a huge difference,” she said. .

“You know, they don’t just speak it, they do it.

“It could be a lounge or dining table, or some food in the pantry, but for the families we work with, it means a lot more.

“These items are symbols of freedom, recovery, new beginnings, all those great things.”

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