Sport AFL The AFL Big Sticks: Winmar’s statue set to be unveiled

The AFL Big Sticks: Winmar’s statue set to be unveiled

The proposed statue had been proposed for VIctoria Park, but will finally find a home in Perth. Photo: Supplied
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Winmar bronze finally finds its home

A bronze statue depicting indigenous footballer Nicky Winmar’s stand against racist abuse from spectators will finally be unveiled at a Perth stadium before the Western Derby.

Reacting to a torrent of racist abuse from Collingwood fans, Winmar raised his St Kilda guernsey and pointed to his chest after a big win over the Magpies at their Victoria Park home.

“I hope this statue encourages more conversations and education about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture,” Winmar said in a statement on Sunday.

It’s a surreal thing to be a part of and it’s something my family are very proud of.”

Western Australian-born Noongar man, Winmar wanted to ensure the statue found its permanent home on Noongar land and it will be installed at Optus Stadium and unveiled on July 6.

Created by renowned Melbourne sculptor Louis Laumen in conjunction with the AFL, the statue was initially proposed for Victoria Park. It was finally crowdfunded and will be delivered to WA from Victoria in the coming weeks.

The installation will complement the stadium precinct’s existing acknowledgement of WA’s Aboriginal heritage and the Matagarup Bridge, which already features an audio art installation to share cultural stories and is a permanent tribute to traditional owners.

WA’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt described Mr Winmar as a trailblazing footballer. “But this defining action also propelled him into the arena of social justice,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Nicky’s actions that day have inspired countless other young people both in sport and in life to stand up and be proud of yourself and your heritage.”

Mitchell’s not ready for a top job

Hawthorn assistant Sam Mitchell has ruled out throwing his hat in the ring to fill the AFL coaching vacancies at Carlton and North Melbourne.

The highly-regarded Mitchell had been considered a left-field candidate for the senior roles, despite being in only his second season as an assistant coach.

But the 36-year-old concedes he is not ready to take the next step and will instead look to continue his apprenticeship under master coach Alastair Clarkson, having last year helped guide West Coast to the premiership.

“I’m really enjoying my time at Hawthorn and learning an enormous amount,” Mitchell told Seven’s Game Day. “At some point I’d love to sit in front of a CEO or a president and say ‘I’m your man’.

“I couldn’t say absolutely I’m the right man for a head coaching job at the moment. Eventually I’d like to get to that point but there’s a lot of learning to happen.”

Sam Mitchell chaired off
Sam Mitchell played his 300th AFL game in 2016 — his last with the Hawks. Photo: Getty

Both the Kangaroos and Blues have enjoyed first-up wins under their respective caretaker coaches Rhyce Shaw and David Teague.

Having sacked Brendon Bolton, the Blues are considered likely to seek an experienced replacement to take the helm next season.

Recently-departed Kangaroos coach Brad Scott heads the list of potential candidates, which also includes former senior coaches Michael Voss and Brett Ratten.

Sydney coach John Longmire has also been strongly linked to the vacant post at Arden St but the Kangaroos could turn to a less-experienced candidate.

Bolton’s loss still being felt despite win

At Carlton, a win in the wake of the sacking of Brendon Bolton garnered much joy … but some pain.

Utility Ed Curnow admits it was a “hollow” feeling to finally get back on the AFL winners list without Bolton at the helm.

The Blues enjoyed immediate success in David Teague’s first game as caretaker coach, outgunning Brisbane for an 11.12 (78) to 9.9 (63) win at Marvel Stadium.

Curnow had a long-standing connection with Bolton, who coached him for two seasons at VFL club Box Hill and was instrumental in drafting him as an AFL player.

The writing had been on the wall for the coach after the Blues’ 1-10 start to the season. But Curnow says it was still difficult to accept.

“It was pretty emotional and upsetting at the time to be honest, being told by the CEO and the president that our coach was leaving,” Curnow told Seven’s Game Day. “(Bolton) thanked us and told us to get behind the new coach. That was sad because we’d been on the journey with him for three-and-a-half years.

“To even get the win yesterday and him not be a part of that felt a bit hollow in a way.”

-with AAP