‘Family’ club proudly wears White Ribbon message

Gabrielle Williams MP addresses players and supporters. 401898_02 Picture: ROB CAREW

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

Recent tragedies have highlighted the scourge of men’s violence against women, but Doveton Football Netball Club has long taken a strong stand.

Netball and football players and supporters – including visiting club Skye – huddled in for the club’s annual White Ribbon Round event at Oak Avenue on Saturday 20 April.

With a long history and deep supporter base, DFNC takes a “total club approach”. It is one of the few entities incorporated as a football and netball club.

It has a strong family culture, a “no d***heads” policy and clear support for the White Ribbon cause.

At the event were DFNC No.1 ticket-holder and Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams, Victoria Police’s Senior Sergeant Graham Stanley as well as club ‘legend’, premiership coach and White Ribbon ambassador Steve Henwood.

Henwood led the club into being a foundation member of the White Ribbon Australia established in 2007.

Now the ‘white ribbon’ is embedded in the club’s logo, uniforms and mission statement.

“The boys proudly wear the white ribbon on our jumpers,” DFNC football president John Stapleton says.

“This event is a very important part of the year for us. At the end of the day our club leaders are very supportive and we try to do our bit for our community.

“Prevention of violence against women and families is paramount for us.

“It’s about improving the lives of everybody in the community.”

The message has a profound impact on the ‘family’ club’s culture – which has a strong “no d***heads policy”, Stapleton says.

“In terms of Doveton, it gets a pretty bad wrap. But people inside and outside of the club know what we’re really like, from the way we conduct ourselves.

“We pride ourselves very much as a family club. People are more willing to be part of the club and accept we’re fair dinkum about this.

“That’s why there’s a whole new generation coming through from many years ago, with their own families coming through.

“You can’t be wishy-washy about it. Anyone who wants to behave inappropriately is not part of the club.”