For a decade, Alan Tongue carried the flag for the Canberra Raiders and now the NRL ambassador is on a mission to stop domestic violence.
Mr Tongue addressed Rotarians from District 9700 about his ‘stop, think, say no to family violence’ program during their annual conference on the weekend.
“It’s designed to educate young men in football clubs from 16 to 18 years old,” he said.
“For me, it’s about education, I really believe in educating the next generation about their actions and the impacts that it can have.
“Making sure that we have the right standards that we set in our communities.”
He said it wasn’t about pointing fingers at rugby league players, “it’s about getting men together to have an honest conversation”.
“By them setting the example in their football clubs, they can have a huge impact on other young men and that can filter back into their community.”
Mr Tongue said he wasn’t asking for “dollars and cents”, but showcasing a program he started from the back of his ute.
“Hopefully, everywhere that I go to share the message what I’m doing, but also what the game is doing, is to inspire and encourage others to do a similar thing,” he said.
“Like everything I’ve worked out in business after playing football, it’s all about connections and networks.”
Having connections with communities made it possible for Mr Tongue to take his program to high schools or local football clubs, and connecting with Rotarians was just one way to do that.
“I want to showcase what we can deliver for them, but I always want to encourage them, that it can start really small,” he said.
“My program started out the back of my ute with half-a-dozen footballs.
“It’s about getting educated yourself about having a passion and going out there and starting a conversation, connecting with the people and the community you have around you to help get that message out there”
Mr Tongue said when it came to fostering healthy relationships, behaviour from others in the community was just as important.
“Your parents are the big influences but so are other men and other people in that community who have a big bearing on the decisions you make,” he said.
“The more examples we can set in the community the better chance we have of creating safe, happy families and communities.”