Titans captain Ryan James say a new film on the battles former Sydney Swans AFL star Adam Goodes had to endure against racism should be compulsory viewing for junior footballers of every code in Australia.
James and Titans teammates and staff were invited to Event Cinemas for an exclusive preview screening of “The Australian Dream”, a film that chronicles the racism storm that engulfed Goodes and the AFL between 2013 and 2015.
Goodes is a two-time Brownlow Medallist, won two premierships with the Swans and is a former Australian of the Year, yet he was booed into retirement at the end of 2015 after confronting a spectator that was racially vilifying him two seasons before.
The documentary was confronting for the Titans players in attendance.
While rugby league has a celebrated history of Indigenous players – Immortal Arthur Beetson was the first Indigenous person to captain any Australian sporting team – the game is not immune to racism, as seen in recent weeks with the online attacks directed at Roosters player Latrell Mitchell.
James, a proud Bundjalung man, said “The Australian Dream” should be required viewing for all junior footballers so the message of the damage that racism can cause is driven home from an early age.
“It has really opened my eyes to see what life is like as an AFL player,” James said. “Hopefully society can see the change.
“I hope that this film can be shown at all the junior levels across any code, whether it be the 20s kids in rugby league, AFL, soccer, union.
“It hits home for everyone. I think it should be mandatory in all those codes.”
Titans CEO Steve Mitchell was also at the screening, and said the input of Indigenous players was a cause for celebration at the club, and in the game at large.
“We are fortunate that we have the highest index of Indigenous players in the competition with nine Indigenous kids in our top 30,” Mitchell said.
“(Racism) is an issue in Australian society that we need to talk through, improve and get better at, and acknowledge.”