The “Think Pat” message will be front and centre on May 5-7 when thousands of players from Northern Football Netball League, Essendon District Football League and Bendigo Football Netball League take part in the annual Pat Cronin Foundation Round.
The acronym, which we’re now taking into schools and sports clubs as part of our Be Wise Education Program, sums up key aspects of strategies to keep anger and aggression under control.
The aim of the Round is to raise awareness of the dangers of violence and is an important plank in our grassroots approach to education. The Think Pat message is one that we’ll be emphasising throughout the weekend.
We believe that reaching out to young people, and particularly young men, at a community level will make the most difference, including our mission to end the Coward Punch.
Our partnerships with the leagues are particularly valuable and relevant, as emotions are often running high in the rough and tumble of competitive sport.
What we’re asking clubs to do during the Pat Cronin Foundation Round
All clubs are encouraged to make a statement of support to end the Coward Punch.
As a simple gesture of respect we also ask that all players shake the hands of their opponents before and after each game.
Coaches are encouraged to talk to their players about the dangers and consequences of violence – including the Coward Punch – both on and off the field. To reinforce the message all players are asked to wear a yellow armband to remember Pat.
Why these three leagues?
The Northern Football Netball League is the heartland of where Pat played his junior footy at the Research Junior Football Club, followed by Lower Plenty in the seniors.
As our Foundation director Matt Cronin explains in an interview above with 3AW Football Melbourne, the community support the NFNL provided in the aftermath of Pat’s death was “beyond belief”.
“When everything happened, just over seven years ago now, the community support we got from the Northern Football Netball League was beyond belief.
“The primary school that Pat went to, Our Lady (Help of Christians School) in Eltham … the Northern Footy League, unbeknown to us, had organised a collection of footy socks and put a big message ‘Stop the Coward Punch’ up on the school fence, out of the footy socks.
“Northern Footy League has always been our heartland. Last year (2022) the Essendon Footy League jumped on board. So too did the Bendigo Football Netball League.
“We rapt to say that there’s going to be over 2000 players – footballers and netballers – who’ll be remembering Pat in the Pat Cronin Foundation Round.”
Where the featured games in each league are taking place
Every game in all three leagues over the weekend is part of the Pat Cronin Foundation Round.
There’s also however a feature match in each, taking place on Saturday, May 6.
In the Northern League, Panton Hill will take on Lower Plenty at AE Cracknell Reserve, Panton Hill, starting at 2.10pm.
At Bendigo, Gisborne play Kangaroo Flat at Kangaroo Flat, starting at 2.20pm.
In Essendon, Craigieburn will play Moonee Valley at DS Aitken Reserve, with kick-off at 2.15pm.
Everyone is encouraged to get behind the Round
To keep up to date with everything we’re doing, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. The Pat Cronin Foundation is dedicated to empowering young people never to use violence. Please donate to the Foundation so that we can continue to provide our Be Wise presentations to schools and clubs everywhere. Be wise. Think carefully. Act kindly.