GIANTS midfielder Stephen Coniglio was on hand to help unveil the AFL’s 2016 Australia Post Multicultural Ambassador Program in Melbourne today.
A beefed-up program will see the introduction of eight new ambassadors who will play a crucial role in raising cultural understanding, inclusion and participation at all levels of the game.
Coniglio, who is of Italian heritage, is entering his third season as a Multicultural Ambassador.
“This is something I’m really passionate about and it’s very exciting to promote diversity not only sport, but life as well,” Coniglio said.
“It’s great to have more ambassadors come on board this year which will hopefully have a lasting effect on participation and inclusion in the sport.
“Diversity should be celebrated both on and off the footy field and that’s something myself, the GIANTS and the entire AFL community are working hard to achieve.
Coniglio will work with the New South Wales Multicultural Talent Academy, help drive AFL Multicultural Round as well as mentor participants in the talent pathway.
The expanded list of 18 ambassadors - representing 13 AFL clubs and two female clubs - aims to reflect Australian society to ensure an inclusive environment for fans, players and officials.
Existing ambassadors include Stephen Coniglio (GWS GIANTS), David Zaharakis (Essendon), Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn), Shem Tatupu (Hawthorn), Alipate Carlile (Port Adelaide), Jimmy Toumpas (Port Adelaide), Bachar Houli (Richmond), Nic Naitanui (West Coast) and Lin Jong (Western Bulldogs).
They will be now also joined by female footballers Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Darcy Vescio along with Dayne Zorko (Brisbane), Tom Hawkins (Geelong), Tendai Mzundu (Fremantle), Adam Saad (Gold Coast), Tom Nicholls (Gold Coast, Aliir Aliir (Sydney) and Jason Johannisen (Western Bulldogs).
In 2016, multicultural players make up 15 per cent of the AFL player lists across the 18 AFL Clubs.
The GIANTS will help launch the AFL’s Multicultural Round ‘Many Cultures One Game’ weekend with a marquee game against Collingwood at Spotless Stadium on Saturday, July 9.