Richmond is happy to report that guernseys donated to ‘Sash and Treasure’ last year, have made it to their destination in Mumbai, India.
Half of the guernseys donated were sent to children in Mumbai, who have started playing AFL through a program run by Reclink Australia.
Lincoln Harris, who runs the Reclink program in Mumbai, said the children were in awe of some of the guernseys, especially the old style, long-sleeved tops, and those with signatures.
Reclink’s AFL program is steadily progressing, with 30 regular players who train and play twice a week, and another 20 who play and train when they can.
“The lack of a suitable playing field is a limiting factor. The only field is under water for four months of the year, and heavily overused at other times,” Harris said.
“The guys are now searching for something more suitable, but in the middle of Mumbai, there are very few options available. Some of them have never played on grass – only mud or sand.”
In December, the program held its first AFL tournament, with five teams participating from the regions of Mumbai, Madurai and host city, Kozhikode.
“The skill and experience level differed greatly between the teams. For example, the Madurai Kangaroos players were all around 14 years old and showed plenty of natural ability,” Harris said.
“The Kozhikode players were older and superior in their athleticism and teamwork, and showed a huge amount of potential for players who were only introduced to the game six months ago.”
Richmond was pleased to hear that the Matunga Tigers won against the Mahim Cats in the ‘Mumbai Derby’.
In total, 65 players participated in the tournament, which was a modified version of AFL 9s, a non-contact style of the game.
Harris said he was very happy with the number of players involved, and hopes to have eight teams and play full-contact games in this year’s tournament.