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Dublin: 10°C Saturday 24 October 2020
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AFL stars to run through hate banner pre-match as part of fundraiser for Jim Stynes' charity

Melbourne FC want to ‘tear online bullying down’.

AUSTRALIAN RULES CLUB Melbourne FC have announced plans for its players to run through a massive banner featuring negative tweets targeting them on Friday night.

AFL CATS DEMONS A recent photo of the Melbourne Demons. Source: AAP/PA Images

The Demons face Essendon in what will be Melbourne FC’s ‘Round for Reach‘ at the MCG.

The AFL match-day will be dedicated to raising funds for The Reach Foundation — a non-profit co-founded by late Dubliner and club legend Jim Stynes in 1994.

The Reach Foundation’s goal is to inspire and support young people, helping them be more empathetic and resilient. Much of their extremely positive work is done through workshops.

Source: The Reach Foundation/YouTube

Beloved Irish-born Aussie Rules legend Stynes passed away in March 2012. After a coloured playing career, the former Melbourne club president founded the Reach Foundation along with film director Paul Currie.

Melbourne released an emotional video this morning of some of its stars reading nasty tweets aimed at them, before ripping the page up.

While the video noted that sports psychologists warn AFL players to stay off social media, it showed footage of the team assembling the banner they will tear down on Friday night.

“Online embarrassment is a major issue,” it stated, “not just for AFL players, but for one in five young Australians who are victims of cyber bullying.”

The lasting message: Let’s tear online bullying down — and to donate, those in Australia can text Reach to 0455 021 021.

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This comes as a positive story after AFLW star Tayla Harris was at the centre of a photo storm last month. The Carlton ace — who’s also a professional boxer — labelled comments on an incredible picture of her in full flight as ‘sexual abuse on social media’ afterwards.

There have been many incidents in the men’s game through the years, with Indigenous players Eddie Betts and Liam Ryan targeted with racial abuse online recently.

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Emma Duffy

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