Here Are Some Of The Best Images From The First Ever AFL Pride Game

"For the kid who loves footy but fears they will never be accepted in our game, this is for you."

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Last night at Etihad Stadium, the Sydney Swans flattened St Kilda in an intimidating performance that reaffirmed their premiership credentials. Led by a best-on-ground Buddy Franklin who walked away with a bag of six goals, the dominant 70 point win sets the Swans up for a run at the top two, while officially putting an end to St Kilda’s finals aspirations.

Still, while the footy itself proved a little underwhelming, last night’s clash was still hugely significant, in that it marked the AFL’s inaugural Pride Game. A joint initiative by the two clubs along with the AFL, the match was designed to celebrate the LGBTQI community while raising awareness about homophobia and discrimination. Swans players wore rainbow-coloured socks, while the Saints’ guernseys featured rainbow-coloured numbers. Even the goal umpires got in on the action.

Many fans in the 33,000-strong crowd were also displaying their pride, with social media soon flooded by photos of happy families and rainbow-coloured scarves and beanies.

The Pride Game represents one of the most public steps the AFL has taken in its ongoing efforts to make the game more inclusive. A recent international survey found that 80 per cent of people involved in sport in Australia felt that gay and lesbian players were not accepted in the sporting community. Victorian footballer Jason Ball became the first openly gay football player competing at any level when he came out in 2012, and recently told the ABC that the Pride Game “will be a life-changing event for many within the AFL family.”

Feature image via St Kilda Football Club.