Geelong captain Joel Selwood doesn’t mind Adam Goodes’ return overshadowing his 200th AFL game and is confident that Cats fans will also embrace the champion Swan.
Some Geelong supporters went online to vent that their skipper’s milestone won’t be properly recognised when Geelong and Sydney players run through a joint banner, but Selwood doesn’t think it will incite any booing.
“I hope not and from my point of view, I’m a proud Geelong person too and what would make me proud is that Geelong people behave the right way too,” Selwood said.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan is confident fans have got the message that the relentless booing of Goodes by opposition supporters is not on.
“I hope that regardless of your views coming into the last two weeks, you listened and learned and then embrace a great champion and show him the respect he deserves,” McLachlan told ABC radio.
He said the AFL industry, playing group and clubs had made a clear and unanimous statement.
“If you boo Adam this week it really can’t be construed as anything else other than racist,” McLachlan told 3AW on Friday.
Goodes took a week away from the sport after enduring weeks of being booed, a response the dual Brownlow medallist and 2014 Australian of the Year believed was racially motivated.
McLachlan questioned why any supporters would boo Goodes in any context during Saturday night’s game at Simonds Stadium, even if it was over a hypothetical on-field incident.
“Adam’s hurting. He feels it is racist. Many many people feel this is racist. Therefore why would you do it knowing that?”
The joint banner promoting unity will also carry messages recognising Selwood’s milestone before his home crowd as well as Swan Luke Parker’s 100th game.
Selwood said he’s happy with the decision to run through the banner together.
“I’m probably more upset for the Geelong cheer squad, they get (really chuffed) putting a banner together and we’re really thankful that those guys do that for us.”
He said the club respected the Goodes situation but then it was all about winning the game.
“We’ll run through a banner together (but) when the first bounce goes we’re coming to win.
“It’s a performance that I think Geelong people will be really proud of.”