Western Bulldogs AFLW captain Ellie Blackburn says being part of the Pride Games against Carlton is something she looks forward to every season.
Since its inception in 2018, the annual Pride Game has created a safe football environment that celebrates inclusiveness, gender diversity and welcoming all people, no matter their sexual orientation.
And Blackburn couldn’t be prouder to be involved.
“I think it’s quite amazing to be part of – it’s something the crowd love coming to and love getting into,” she told westernbulldogs.com.au.
“It’s not just about showing up and saying ‘I went to the Pride Game’, it’s people genuinely getting into the game and that’s one of the best parts about it.”
The Bulldogs skipper also recognised the importance of having a match of this kind.
“It’s great to be able to support different communities too, and one that cops a fair bit of scrutiny and is always spoken about, not necessarily in the nicest context,” Blackburn said.
“To be able to represent and role model that being inclusive is a great thing to do, and (see) how happy the environment is at the football – it’s a place where
people feel comfortable because they’re around their people and I love that.”
While the current tally is a win-apiece from their last two Pride Games, she’s hoping her side can get the upper hand this weekend.
“It’s always a fun battle against Carlton – they’ve got the upper hand on us having won last year, but we’ll definitely be looking to get a win on the board this weekend,” Blackburn said.
“It was obviously extremely hard losing (to Melbourne last Friday), but the good thing is that we’ve got a resilient group driven by ‘Burkey’ (coach Nathan Burke).
“He didn’t want us to sit there and dwell on it for too long – there’s a good feeling around the club thanks to so many amazing people in our four walls that create an environment you love being a part of.”
Blackburn hopes to see as many people in “the red, white and blue, and rainbow colours” as possible at VU Whitten Oval on Saturday at 3.10pm.