Ahead of tomorrow night’s round eight clash, Sydney Swans midfielder Luke Parker and Fremantle’s Ryan Crowley joined forces on Friday afternoon to meet some of the kids and families from Redkite.
Redkite has been supporting children, young people and their families through the cancer journey for the past 30 years by providing families with the must-haves including information, support and counselling, financial assistance and help to keep children up to speed with school and training.
With Saturday night’s match between the Swans and Dockers being played for the Redkite Cup, Parker and Crowley relished the opportunity of taking time out from their training schedules to have a kick on the SCG with some of the Redkite kids.
“The Redkite Cup’s a good thing to play for; the Sydney Swans have been partners with Redkite for over a decade now,” Parker said.
“I know the boys like getting out into the community and helping out the kids and putting a smile on their faces.”
Crowley, who was diagnosed with a benign tumour in his right leg at five years of age, said he hoped his rise to being one of the best taggers in the game, could inspire the children and families who Redkite currently work with.
“It’s obviously really tough to go through that sort of thing, and hopefully my story can help show some of the kids that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and that they can get through it,” Crowley said.
“A similar organisation to Redkite in Melbourne helped me out (when I was a kid), so it’s something that is close to my heart and I was really keen to be involved in.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow night’s match, Parker is expecting a tough and contested Fremantle side and hoping for an improved showing from the Swans after last weekend’s disappointment against Hawthorn.
“I think the way (Fremantle) are playing and their contested ball – and with (Nat) Fyfe coming back in, a contested, inside player, who’s a gun – it’s going to be a big midfield battle, with a lot of strong bodies in there and a lot of contests,” he said.
“Last week, the boys were filthy with the missed tackles, so we want to be right on top of that and causing stoppages, and I’m sure there will be a fair few of those on the weekend.
“We have to improve our start from last week, and we know Freo are a really good starting team – I think they are seven or so goals up in their first quarters – so that’s a big focus for us. We need to minimise their score in the first quarter and just go back to basics.”
For Crowley and the Fremantle side, they will be looking to continue their impressive run of form while still missing some of their big name players.
“Our four best players on paper are probably (Matthew) Pavlich, (Aaron) Sandilands, (Stephen) Hill and Fyfe, and we didn’t have them last week,” he said.
“I’ve played in a lot of Freo teams in the past that wouldn’t have got a win in that situation, so I think (winning against Collingwood last weekend) is a testament to where we’ve come from. I think it’s not so much about the personnel, but the structure and a guy who will come in and play his role.”
And the prospect of facing the reigning premiers on their home soil?
“That’s why you play footy, isn’t it? To come up against the best, and it’s a really good test.”