AFL Blind Team Launch

On Friday the 28th of July, the club gathered to welcome the new players of our official blind team. This was a great opportunity for players, administration staff, families and special guests to come together and support this new team in a new, exciting competition.

Our blind team were presented with their newly designed bright orange Guernsey's by our CEO Justin Reeves and player Grant Birchall. The launch also involved a presentation to Afford's representative Kellie Carruthers, as well as giving Hawthorn staff background knowledge on how blind football will be played.

Lead by Captain Melanie Edge, players took part in an interactive session to discuss mental wellbeing through sport, player interviews and shared a lunch to bond as a team before Kellie presented to the team about the opportunities and services provided by Afford.

This is all possible due to the generous support from Afford. The excitement on the players' faces while they were welcomed to the Hawks family shows the power that all-abilities sports have in creating a more inclusive environment.

How is AFL Blind played?

A game of AFL Blind looks and feels like traditional Australian football.

Games are played indoors, which provides a controlled environment to allow players to utilise their hearing. The football has a USB charging port and an electronic beeper inserted so that the players can track the ball using their hearing.

To help players identify the centre and location of the goals, there are flashing lights and high contrast backdrops hung behind the goals, as well as a Bluetooth speaker in-between the goal posts which is activated when players are in their scoring zone.

The players are categorised based on their level of vision impairment (B1 or B2), with different rules applying to different categories. Players categorised as B1, will be all players who are completely blind and rely on other senses to participate, they will also be awarded additional points for scoring.

Six players for each team are on the field at any one time (two forwards, two midfielders and two defenders). Players are classified based on their level of vision impairment and different rules apply for players based on their classification. B1 refers to players are completely blind and rely on other senses to participate. B2 refers to players have a vision impairment but use limited vision to compete. The game will be played out of a purpose-built facility in Tullamarine

Hawthorn’s 2019 AFL Blind Squad
Melanie Edge (Captain) B1
Chris Gould B2
Dale Alards B2
David Steeds B2
John Boland B2
Ned Brewer-Maiga B2
Ollie Oglethorpe B2
Soban Sivachanthiran B2
Zac Sheehan B1
Cebby Johnson B1

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