Footy legends to reunite for Tackling Suicide Celebrity and Community Charity Match at Lathlain Park


Former Fremantle Dockers player Paul Hasleby and Hockeyroo player Ashleigh Nelson. Picutre: Martin Kennealey.
Former Fremantle Dockers player Paul Hasleby and Hockeyroo player Ashleigh Nelson. Picutre: Martin Kennealey.

FOOTBALL players, athletes and celebrities will combine to play a match at Lathlain Park while raising awareness for youth mental health.

The Tackling Suicide Celebrity and Community Charity Match on February 24 has been organised by Outside the Locker Room, a mentoring and education program that provides professional development and support for daily challenges, in partnership with Youth Focus and Lifeline WA.

Outside the Locker Room was founded by former Carlton player Jake Edwards, who was diagnosed with depression at the age of 19 and at his lowest, contemplated suicide.

Perth Demons and Peel Thunder will battle it out in the curtain raiser, the inaugural Youth Focus Cup, at 3.30pm before the celebrity match at 5.30pm.

Among the celebrities to pull on their boots will be AFL champions Troy Cook, Peter Bell, Drew Petrie, Luke McPharlin, Andrew Embley, Daniel Kerr, Jake Edwards, David Wirrpanda, Dale Kickett, Paul Hasleby, Sam Butler, Shaun McManus and Ryan Crowley. Hockeyroo Ashleigh Nelson, ex-Kookaburra Simon Orchard as well as media personalities Paddy Sweeney and Nadia Mitsopoulos.

Wildcats champions Greg Hire, a long-term advocate for youth mental health, and Damian Martin will also attend.

Ashleigh Nelson said mental health was an issue for sportspeople and other people in high pressure jobs.

“There is the pressure of the selection process and preparation, which increases during the Olympics and Commonwealth Games,” she said.

“I’m a bit nervous about the game, I don’t think any AFLW scouts will be impressed but I’ve got some friends coming down to watch me and laugh.”

Youth Focus community engagement manager Chris Harris said community awareness was an integral part of the organisation’s mission to prevent suicide.

“Youth Focus is proud to be involved in this community event, which will raise awareness about youth mental health to help us continue our suicide prevention crusade,” he said.

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