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Rabbitohs Stars Tackle Booze-Fuelled Violence

17 Mar 2011

Alcohol and sport have had a long, intimate and often uncomfortable relationship.

To their enormous credit, however, the  South Sydney Rabbitohs enthusiastically accepted our invitation to become involved in the Last Drinks campaign, and already their involvement is helping the campaign to reach an important new audience.

The Last Drinks campaign is a joint project backed by the Police Association of NSW, the Australian Medical Association (NSW), the Health Services Union and the NSW Nurses’ Association.

It’s purpose is to reduce the amount of alcohol-fuelled violence in the community – and in the process to make life safer for the front-line police officers, doctors, nurses and paramedics who deal with it every weekend.

The Rabbitohs have worked with the Last Drinks campaign to produce a short video focusing on the proposition that mates don’t let their mates get drunk and get into trouble.

The video is powerful because the voices are authentic.  They are players who understand the issue from their own personal experiences, and from the experiences of their friends and families.

They are young men who understand the importance of looking after their mates, on the field and off it.  And they are players who have the respect of our target audience – 18 to 35 year-old men.

Making the video proved to be more of an adventure than we planned.

Firstly, there was a break down in communication, with only Rabbitohs captain Roy Asotasi and young gun Dylan Farrell making it to Redfern Oval at the appointed time.

A few frantic phone calls later and we were ready to go – but then the grounds’ automatic sprinklers sprang to life, sending the film crew diving for cover.

After 15 minutes the sprinklers had done their thing, only for a loud hissing noise to start from behind the grandstand.  The gas company had chosen that moment to refill the Redfern Oval tanks.

Eventually we were underway.  We got through most of the script, and Roy Asotasi was just about to start delivering the final lines when a noisy neighbourhood dog decided to stretch things out even longer.

Running through the script with the Rabbitohs

The end result, however, was worth it.  And if our Mates’ Pledge video stops one person from having one too many, and from ending up in hospital or in a police cell, then the video will have been a success.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone at the South Sydney Rabbitohs for their contribution to this project.  Through the highly successful South Cares program, South Sydney has shown how a professional sporting club can make a huge contribution to its local community.

Thanks also to Ben and the team at Milko Productions for putting it all together.

And a particular thank you to the stars of our video – Roy Asotasi, Nathan Merritt, Michael Crocker and Dylan Farrell.

You can see the video here – or get along to a South Sydney Rabbitohs home match at ANZ Stadium to see it on the big screen.

– Stewart Prins