Former Australian of the Year and Adam Goodes has spoken of his disappointment at the sustained crowd booing he’s been receiving this year.
His comments came as a fellow indigenous Australian Rules player defended an on-field war dance he performed in support of the dual Brownlow Medallist.
Gareth Boreham reports.
It’s been an all-too-familiar refrain when Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes goes near the ball.
And after kicking a goal against the West Coast Eagles, it prompted West Australian-born team-mate Lewis Jetta to make a statement to the Perth crowd.
The war dance was a reprise of one Goodes controversially performed during the AFL’s indigenous round in May.
And Jetta has left it in no doubt as to where his action was directed.
“All throughout the game Goodsy was having touches and getting booed the whole time so I just wanted to show a bit of support. He is a superstar of the game, he is a superstar for the Swans and fans just need to show more respect for what he has done for the game.”
Jetta has won the support of his coach, John Longmire.
“Lewis is a young kid who has come to Sydney and Goodsy has been such a powerful figure for him and he was reacting and trying to show support for a mate.”
And the admiration of his mentor, Adam Goodes.
“He definitely got the moves and he definitely performed it a lot better than I did.”
But behind the smiles, Goodes has revealed the impact of what he’s described as “bad energy” towards him.
“It’s disappointing. I’m coming towards the end of my career and if I leave the game this year and that’s the aftermath of my career then I’ll be really disappointed with that.”
And it’s not just the Sydney Swans that have grown weary of the crowd behaviour towards Adam Goodes.
The AFL also says ‘enough-is-enough’.
Chief Executive Gill McLachlan is concerned about how the booing is reflecting on the game.
While many believe there ARE some racial overtones, others say it’s a reaction to Goodes playing for free kicks.
Gill McLachlan isn’t sure exactly why he’s provoking such a response.
“I think we are at the stage that people don’t even know why they are doing it..and it’s ugly and it’s having an impact. We have got great supporters and I can’t tell them what to do but I ask them to consider that going forward.”
The AFL boss has revealed he received a phone call from Lewis Jetta’s father, who highlighted how the crowd reaction to Goodes was affecting the indigenous community.
And West Coast Eagles supporter Melissa Gillett has revealed a fan was ejected from the ground after she reported him for abusing Goodes.
“It was absolutely racist. I don’t want to repeat what it was but it referred to an animal likeness again and I just thought it was completely inappropriate.”
She and other Eagles fans – as well as players – speaking out against the crowd reaction to the 2014 Australian of the Year.