Wallsend-West Newcastle are set to make regional history when the club hosts its inaugural Hunter Central Coast Pride Cup in the upcoming M1 Derby clash against Wyong Lakes on Saturday, August 17.
The event, to be hosted at Bill Elliot Oval and set to encompass both the women’s first grade and the Swans’ Black Diamond Plate men’s fixture, is about “celebrating diversity and inclusion in sport and the fight against discrimination and homophobia”.
“It’s really exciting, hopefully we can have it be a really big day for the club,” Swans star and club committee member Indigo Ryan told the Women’s Chronicle.
“The message of the day is a really important thing for everyone here, sport is a really inclusive and welcoming place, but it isn’t always for everyone, so we want to keep promoting inclusion and diversity in our club.
“Our club has a really strong message of supporting everyone in the community, this is my first year here and I’ve already felt like it’s a very powerful message with the club. We’re really trying to set the message of celebration and inclusivity in our community.”
The Pride Cup will kick-off Newcastle’s Pride Week in mid-August, and will act as a curtain-raiser celebration with food stalls, music, face painting, and performances throughout the day. The club has also confirmed Auskick players will be involved in mini-games during breaks.
The Swans and Magpies will also both be wearing specially-designed rainbow strips and socks during their fixtures. Wallsend-West Newcastle’s has been designed by Ashlea Finn, who first approached the club with the idea for a pride round.
The club has also organised rainbow flags and goalposts for the event to have “lots of colour at the ground” throughout the day.
“We want to get everyone that does and doesn’t play, and getting them all together to celebrate this important week on the calendar,” Ryan said.
“Wyong has been fantastic as well, they’ve designed their own guernseys to wear on the day alongside ours, and Central Coast Pride Week has come onboard through them as well so we have both areas involved.”
Swans club president Steve Lewer said he and the whole club were “so proud” to have such an “amazing” round coming up on on their fixtures calendar, and said he was looking forward to celebrating “diversity” through sport.
“Pride Round is about the fight against discrimination and homophobia. Our club prides itself as a strong family and community club, promoting inclusion at all levels, whether it is sexually, religious, or cultural. The Wallsend-West Newcastle Swans are very proud of this iniatitive and welcome the day,” said Lewer.
Wallsend-West Newcastle’s pride fixture against Wyong mirrors their Sydney sister club in the AFL. The Sydney Swans now host regular Pride Games against St Kilda each season, and will next hold the fixture at the SCG on Saturday, August 24.
The Family Hotel, Newcastle Pride and Highlite Fitness have all come onboard as sponsors of the jerseys and the day, with the Family also hosting a post-match event later that evening. The women’s match will kick-off at 12pm.
Find out more about the local Pride Cup event on Wallsend-West Newcastle’s official Facebook event page here: facebook.com/events/664754190615308.