Footy Kicks Back Off for Robert

04 Oct 2022

Participant Stories

Covid was a really isolating time for much of the population, however, those with a disability were possibly hit harder. Like many people with special needs Rob wasn’t able to change his way of socially engaging through the use of technology, which meant that the last two years have been incredibly challenging.

Two years without being able to see his beloved football team Port Melbourne Borough was the hardest thing for Rob. He has been going for years, and he has seen it all. “Gary Ayres who was at the club for 14 years knew Robbie, everyone knows Robbie!” says Rob’s sister Roseanne. 

Community spirit

“Local football is where Robbie’s heart lies, he does support Collingwood in the AFL but the experience he gets going to the VFL is second to none. The Port Melbourne Football club go out of its way to make him feel involved. He loves being able to go onto the ground and join the huddle, go into the rooms after the game and meet and chat with the players in real life, not just watch them on a screen. An experience that he could never have at an AFL level week in and week out,” Roseanne tells us.

Robbie is keen to get to every match, and usually does, be it a night game, or a day game he is there. With the help of a support worker, funded through his NDIS plan, Robbie can comfortably go, knowing if he needs his support worker for assistance with anything they are there to help. They have devised the plan to take two balloons to each game and tie them to the fence where they sit. The balloons act as a beacon and the telecast often picks them up, focusing on them, meaning not only does Roseanne know where Robbie is sitting but also so do the players! Robbie loves this and it has become a tradition.

The last few years have felt like a lifetime for Robbie, not having his beloved Boroughs to go and support has been a great challenge, a challenge many across Victoria would have felt, with footy playing such a large role in many people’s lives. “The Port Melbourne Footy club have been just brilliant to Robbie”- Roseanne, it is so nice to be able to see him back at it, supporting a team he has loved since he was a kid. Robbie finally has the community feeling back, and that is all thanks to the footy! 

More adventures with Rob

Read more about how PTC’s Support Coordination got Robbie on a holiday to Queensland in this blog.