ALAN Tongue was back in Tamworth last week to host a special seminar.
It was only fitting that the “Voice Against Violence” seminar was held at Farrer on the ground – John Simpson Oval - where the former Australian Schoolboy played some memorable minutes for Farrer, and in the Tongue Family Grandstand.
A dozen or so teenage players from Dungowan and North Tamworth were on hand to hear Tongue impart his message.
His message is simple and aimed at the hearts and minds of young men in their formative years as they leave the junior ranks and enter the senior grades.
It’s about “standing up, speaking out and taking action” for women who have violence, either physical or emotional, perpetrated on them.
“We all have a part to play in helping prevent or influencing that violence.
“I have three young girls and I’m really passionate about it. The statistics are damning,” Tongue said.
73 women died as a result of domestic violence in 2016, he said.
“So it’s important for me to deliver the message to stop violence against women.”
Tongue is a community program deliverer. He helped fashion the VAV seminar five years ago and has been delivering it for three years now.
Last year 20 seminars were held, including trips to Papua New Guinea, Fiji and one session with the Australian Kangaroos.
“This is our first this year,” he said.
“We have 59 more to do.”
The majority of them are with teenagers at various clubs across the country.
“They are transitioning from junior football into senior football, it’s a big responsibility for them but it isn’t just on the footie field but in real life too. We’re using the amazing power of sport, particularly rugby league to change the culture,” he said.
“It’s all about hard work and respect. You need that to be not just a good footballer but a good person.”
They were fundamentals Tongue grew up on “just down the road”.
After leaving Farrer he ventured to Canberra where he became a first grade fixture and the Raiders captain in 2006. He retired in 2011 and now works three days a week delivering the VAV for the NRL as well as working for the ABC in Canberra.
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