When people think about the power of rugby league players, the images that usually spring to mind are of blasting through defensive lines, or pushing heavily laden barbells in the gym.
But former Canberra Raiders captain Alan Tongue will tell you that the power of influence may be the NRL’s most impressive force.
Tongue is an ambassador for the NRL’s Voice Against Violence program, delivering workshops to all NRL clubs and their players to increase awareness and understanding of the serious issue of gender-based violence.
The workshops deliver insights into what this violence is, the different forms it takes, the consequences and why it occurs, as well as information and practical advice on how each one of us can contribute to the prevention of such violence.
Tongue’s recent visit to the Gold Coast was well received by the Titans’ playing group, who embraced the message of being strong enough to set the example for others to follow to put an end to domestic violence.
“(The workshop shows) the ways for them, as men of influence in their sporting club, to influence their own lives, but also people around them,” Tongue said.
“We are really looking at the culture that we can create around valuing, respecting and empowering women.
“It was great to be here today. The players were outstanding. They came up with some really important themes and messages and actions that they can take away.”
Tongue said rugby league’s massive popularity could be used as an agent of change for societal issues like domestic violence.
“A real passion of mine is to use rugby league, and the power of rugby league, to connect, to educate, to inspire, to empower, to make positive social change,” Tongue said.
“A real key theme for me to take away, which was really powerful, was the action of we have to live it and breathe it.”