The Fremantle Football Club has thrown its full support behind the AFL industry’s package to assist with the nation’s response to the ongoing bushfire disaster.
The AFL announced on Thursday that the league and its players will donate a $2.5m package that includes $1.35m from the league, $900,000 from the clubs and $250,000 from the AFL Players Association.
A total of $1m will provide immediate emergency assistance through the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. An additional $1.5m will kickstart the Community Relief Fund for grassroots facilities.
Fremantle have also committed to send the best available players for a State of Origin game between Victoria and an All Stars team that will raise further funds at Marvel Stadium on Friday 28 February.
There will be a maximum of three players per AFL club eligible to take part in the match to ensure minimal disruption to club's pre-season plans before round one.
“As a club, our hearts go out to all of the Australians that have been affected by the ongoing bushfire disaster,” Fremantle CEO Simon Garlick said.
“We have seen the whole country come together, through the selfless and heroic actions of our emergency services and volunteers as well as the amazing generosity and donations to support the communities that are suffering.
“We are proud to contribute as a part of the AFL industry and any player who is fit for selection will be made available for the State of Origin game.
“All of our AFL and AFLW players are eager to contribute to this important cause, and we are working on what we can do further as a club, and this will be communicated shortly.”
Fremantle leadership group member Alex Pearce said that the whole AFL playing group was behind the cause.
Pearce has been in Melbourne this week as a Fremantle representative for the AFL Players Association leadership and induction camp and said that the bushfire response was a main topic of conversation.
“It was discussed quite a bit this week at the delegates conference. I think we’re all really proud that we’re in a position to contribute to the donation that we have,” Pearce said.
“The State of Origin game is something that all players are excited for and I imagine every Fremantle Docker that’s fit will be putting their hand up to play.
“It’s going to be a really important event for the whole AFL community as we contribute to what has obviously been a devastating time for Australia.”
Fremantle AFLW captain Kara Antonio said that the AFLW playing group is eager to support the cause.
“We’re very lucky to be able to use our platform to drive awareness and raise some funds and get the message out there that this is a national disaster that we all need to support,” Antonio said.
“We all want to get behind this and do whatever we can as players. I’m very proud that the club has jumped on board and is establishing ways to get AFL and AFLW players involved.”