Peach tackles the big issues

LOWER Clarence Magpie players couldn’t believe their eyes when former NRL legend David Peachey turned up at training on Tuesday.

The “Peach” was one of those rare talents on the footy field who excited fans with his unpredictable play and elusive running style.

But on Tuesday night at the Magpies home base, the Maclean Showground, the former Australia and New South Wales representative and now ambassador for the Tackling Domestic Violence program wasn’t interested in having a run with the locals. He had more important things on his mind – spreading the word about domestic violence.

“The campaign is all about let’s tackle violence and is obviously more directed at domestic violence,” Peachey said. “This is the third year I’ve been involved. The first year was 2009, which was a pilot program, and I think the ambassadors at the time were Ricky Walford and Larry Corowa.

“It initially started with six teams, now we have 17. When I was winding up my career, (Community Services) Minister Linda Burney asked if I would like to be an ambassador.

“So I undertook the necessary training to be able to deliver the program.

“It’s not about just coming out and talking to the players. We also have a PowerPoint presentation,” he said.

PEACHEY said domestic violence had been swept under the carpet in the past but through the right education positive outcomes could be achieved.

“It’s one of those things which happen behind closed doors. Not a lot of people talk about it,” he said. “It’s about opening the door and getting the broader community involved.

“It’s not a black and white thing. This involves the whole community. We use rugby league as a vehicle to drive the program.”

Peachey, voted Daily M fullback of the year in 1999, said visiting outback areas such as Wilcannia had been very productive in tackling domestic violence.

“I cover a quite a lot of territory and at towns like Wilcannia and Broken Hill we’ve really made some inroads,” he said. “They have a saying out there, ‘If the river’s flowing and football’s happening the community’s good’.

“I know Maclean has been involved in the campaign since its inception and it’s exciting to be here. They are all rugby league players but we want them to become role models in the community.

“We want our men to stand up and be proud of the football club they are associated with. Also, be in a position where they can help a mate out. Knowing there is a situation and they can actually jump in.”

Let’s tackle domestic violence

The program has four key elements:

1. Sponsorship: In return for sponsorship, teams include the Tackling Violence slogan on their jerseys and agree to become community role models and not commit domestic violence offences. Players are subject to penalties for domestic violence, which are included in the code of conduct.

2. Domestic violence education: Players, coaches, officials, juniors and local women participate in domestic violence education and workshops.

3. Schools program: Safety and safe relationships messages are delivered to young people in key secondary schools.

4. Community awareness campaign. Clubs involved are: Walgett Dragons, Macquarie Scorpions, Wagga Brothers, Tingha Tigers, Lower Clarence Magpies, Dubbo CYMS, Dubbo Macquarie Raiders, Northern Rivers United, Macksville Eagles, Moree Boomerangs, Moree Boars, Wilcannia Boomerangs, Menindee Yabbies, Broken Hill Saints, Broken Hill Geebungs, Warren Bulldogs.

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