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Swans world wide reach

Sydney Swans Media  September 8, 2017 10:20 AM

Swans a hit in Sierra Leone Swans supporters in Sierra Leone sing the team song.

When the Sydney Swans take on Essendon on Saturday there will be a contingent of passionate fans cheering from the other side of the globe. 

Sydney Swans Centre Circle member Steve Stock has spent this year working in Sierra Leone, after a local company merged with his Australian-based employer Iluka Resources Limited.

After several months abroad, Stock realised that Sierra Leoneans are very social and sports orientated people, so he set about introducing them to the game of AFL.

Armed with 50 Sydney Swans t-shirts and six Sherrins, Stock and his team began enlisting new AFL fans, encouraging local Sierra Leoneans to visit the Sydney Swans website and download the club app.

“While the Swans have been sensational this year in defying the odds, the people here at Sierra Rutile and Sierra Leone in general are an amazingly resilient and proud people that have been defying the odds all their life,” Stock wrote in recent correspondence to the Swans.

Stock has been equally inspired by children at the local orphanage, to which he donated two of the Sherrin footballs.

“One of the most rewarding things I have been involved with since arriving has been getting involved with the local orphanage,” Stock said.  

“It was established after the war to look after children whose parents, and in some cases extended family, were killed. Most of the children have been in it for the majority of their lives.

“I recently dropped off two footballs sponsored by Sydney Swans and made two little boys’ day. The next superstar may come from Sierra Leone!!" 

Two local schools also benefited from footballs, while the other two were used for games at the Independence Day Sports Carnival – a day that Stock describes as a “highlight” of his year.

Stock hopes to take another bundle of Sydney Swans merchandise to Sierra Leone in the coming months.