The Naracoorte Seeds Field Day on Thursday November 1 was a fantastic day for farmers, as they looked over the work being done on the research fields, and also got to hear from AFL great Kevin Sheedy.
The event was held in conjunction with Cropmark Seeds, a New Zealand-based seed corporation which works closely with Naracoorte Seeds.
Gary Begley, the Marketing Manager of Cropmark and one of the co-owners, explained that Cropmark have been in the Australian market for the last 20 years, and that Naracoorte Seeds have distribution rights in South Australia.
Cropmark and Naracoorte Seeds work hard to make sure that their seeds are up to standard, undertaking various trials to have the best quality seeds on the market.
One of their customers is Adam Sheedy, whose uncle just happens to be AFL legend Kevin Sheedy.
Kevin stopped by the Naracoorte Seeds Field Day on his way to Mount Gambier, and regaled the crowd with stories from his AFL career.
There were a couple of shots at old rival Carlton, and of course, Kevin couldn’t help but get in some barbs at his old foe, Mick Malthouse.
But as the great man said, “I don’t work for AFL – I work for footy”. His chat with the crowd – and it was more of a chat than a speech – involved Kevin talking about his efforts to get more country players in the game.
His work with Aboriginal players has also changed the face of the AFL, and the recognition of what our indigenous sports people bring to our culture is also a high priority in his post-coaching career.
Getting younger people into the game is something Kevin is passionate about, whether they were born in Australia or migrated here. Using sport to get kids away from things like booze and drugs is something the former Essendon coach stands for.
Kevin Sheedy’s work also involves drawing attention to health. Whether it’s men’s health (physical and mental), or in particular the health of our veterans, who, like farmers, have high suicide statistics.
Other yarns included trying to work out the parameters of an Australian football pitch on a US oval with former Premier John Olson for a G’Day Australia event; berating AFL marketing teams blowing the opportunity to have state rival matches like the NFL; and having a pub full of Western Australians make an absolutely mind-boggling ‘perfect team’, with players including Saddam Hussein and Idi Amin.
Kevin happily fielded questions, most of which centered on what he did as a coach, and why.
(And it wouldn’t be a talk about football in South Australia without bringing up this year’s SANFL scandal).
Once questions were done Kevin stayed around to autograph books, and also had memorabilia for sale. He was thanked by Jamie Tidy and Naracoorte Seeds for entertaining the crowd and giving up so much of his time, before he was on the road again.
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