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Many Cultures. One Game

‘Many Cultures. One game’.

That’s the message surrounding this week’s AFL Multicultural Round - a themed round designed to acknowledge and celebrate our game’s cultural diversity.

The 2012 AFL Multicultural Round will celebrate ‘Many Cultures. One Game’ and will highlight the community engagement initiatives of the Australian football industry, as well as the many players from culturally diverse backgrounds who make up 14 per cent of the AFL player list and represent 39 countries.

The Brisbane Lions’ Multicultural Ambassador, Pearce Hanley, headlines a long list of current players at the Club who have either been born overseas, or have at least one parent born overseas.

Hanley has possibly the most unique background of any Lions player considering he was born in England to a Welsh-born mother and Irish-born father, while fellow countryman Niall McKeever’s family have deep-entrenched roots in Ireland.

According to AFL records, other multicultural current Lions players include: Mitch Golby (English-born father), Ryan Harwood (English-born mother), Ryan Lester (English-born mother and South African-born father), Matthew Leuenberger (Swiss-born father), Ben Hudson (Canadian-born mother), Sam Docherty (Scottish-born father), Dayne Zorko (Yugoslavian-born father) and Simon Black (New Zealand-born father).

Black was also named among the initial squad of 50 players in the Australia Post Multicultural Team of Champions - which was chosen to recognise the achievement and enormous contribution of players from multicultural backgrounds.

The team will comprise the period 1896 - 2012, with the final team of 22 to be announced in the lead up to the 2012 Toyota AFL Grand Final at a function supported by Australia Post.

Black was joined in the squad by three of his former Lions premiership team-mates with multicultural backgrounds: Jason Akermanis (Canadian-born stepfather, name originates from Latvia); Justin Leppitsch (Austrian-born father); and Mal Michael (Papua New Guinea).

Some of the other activities surrounding Multicultural Round will include:

• Umpires will use orange flags. Orange is the international colour of harmony.

• Players from multicultural backgrounds will toss the coin.

• Half time NAB AFL Auskick will include children from multicultural backgrounds.

• Public Opinion Afro Orchestra will perform at the Carlton v Hawthorn match at the MCG and have also provided the backing track to the television and radio campaign.

• More than 1000 AFL industry people will attend Cultural Diversity forums in Victoria, Tasmania, NSW, QLD, SA, and WA.

• Various school programs, clinics and carnivals will be held throughout the week