It’s been a busy start to the year for the Cats in Community Program, with hospital visits, wishes granted, programs starting up and more.
Catch up on some of what’s been happening at the club off the field:
Sensory Zone Returns
The Geelong Cats’ Sensory Zone is back for every game at GMHBA Stadium in 2021!
The Sensory Zone, which was opened in 2019 as Australia’s first permanent sensory zone for all events, is made available on match days for those with sensory needs.
The space consists of a small sensory room with a larger quiet space, and is designed to enable guests to feel comfortable and in control during their time at GHMBA Stadium.
Guests are welcome to visit the zone before, during or after the game, with the room open from the moment gates open until after the final siren.
The Sensory Zone can be found in the Deakin Cats Community Centre, on the ground floor of the Players Stand.
The space is open for everyone at the game, but with zones introduced at stadiums as part of the Covid-safe regulations, anyone not sitting in the Players Stand will need to ask a member of the Geelong Cats’ ground staff to escort them through to the Sensory Zone.
When Tom Met Malu
Cats defender Tom Stewart had a memorable encounter with two-year-old Malu Hunt, the face of the 2021 Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, at GMHBA Stadium.
On what was meant to be a day off for Stewart, the 28-year-old was given an extra training session as young Malu and his brothers Harlan and Jarvie raced around the turf, having a kick of the footy and some play in what was a special day for all involved.
AAMI Community Camp
Things may have looked a little different this time around, but the Cats were still able to connect with schools and junior football clubs around the Geelong, Colac and East Arnhem Land through the AAMI Community Camp.
There were Zoom meetings into classrooms, one-on-one chats and, for lucky Newcomb junior footballers Patrick and Tuscan, the chance to meet Joel Selwood for a kick of the footy.
AFLW Season Wrap
The Cats Women’s season featured a couple of new specialty rounds, which resonated with the Cats’ community and supporter base.
The Cats were one of five teams to don a special guernsey for the AFLW’s inaugural Pride Round, designed by a working group including some of the AFLW Cats.
The Cats also unveiled their first AFLW Indigenous Guernsey, as the women’s competition celebrated its inaugural Indigenous Round.
Designed by Corrina Eccles, a traditional owner of Wadawurrung Country, the guernsey represented a local story and incorporated a number of meaningful landmarks across the Barwon region.
The round marked the first time a Djilang Game had been played during the AFL Women’s Competition, as the Cats took on Richmond at GMHBA Stadium.
Unity Cup Hub
The Geelong senior team tasted ultimate success at the annual TAC Unity Cup Gala Day, taking home the trophy in their age category.
The day saw more than 450 people converge on Royal Park North for the gala day, with players from ages 12 and up competing over a number of different categories.
The annual event, run by AFL Victoria, encourages young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are new to Australian football – or not currently engaged in the sport – to participate in a series of clinics across the state, culminating in the gala day.
Deakin Cats Community Centre Up and Running
The Deakin Cats Community Centre is back up and running and in full swing with community groups, schools and visitors using the multipurpose centre once again.
The centre is a purpose-built facility designed to facilitate community, education and learning, and is the hub for the delivery of the club’s community programs, including Djilang, BioCATS and some of the GMHBA Healthy Heroes programming.
It is also home to the Sensory Zone and the Gartland Heritage Centre.
For more information about the Deakin Cats Community Centre, please CLICK HERE.
Mascot Exhibition Open to the Public
The Gartland Heritage Centre has its first exhibition for 2021: the Geelong Cats’ Mascot Exhibition.
Detailing the history and evolution of the Geelong Cats’ mascot, the exhibition includes memorabilia, photos and a Half-Cat costume, and will evoke memories for Cats fans young and old.
For anyone wanting to visit the exhibition, the Gartland Heritage Centre is open to the public on Mondays from 3.30pm until 5pm.