Newcastle Knights players Michael Dobson and James McManus are the faces of this year’s Tackling Violence television commercial, recently filmed at Knights headquarters at Wests Mayfield and to be aired later in the year.
The Let’s Tackle Bullying program sees Rugby League deliver a powerful message about stopping domestic violence to grassroots clubs Australia-wide.
Susan Lindsay, program manager of NRL Tackling Violence campaign, is thrilled to have the Club on board again on the back of last year’s successful advertising campaign featuring players Tyrone Roberts and Willie Mason.
As with last year, the TV commercial also features players from local football clubs the Macquarie Scorpions and Newcastle Souths speaking out against domestic violence.
“The Knights have helped us lift the profile of the program, particularly here in the Newcastle area," Susan said.
She explained having the Knights involved in the commercial takes the profile of the local Clubs and what players are doing with the program and sends it throughout the Hunter.
“If the Knights stand up against something in this town, everyone pays attention,” she said.
“The program targets areas where domestic violence rates are high, that are football mad and where we think we can use role models in the town or community to run the program."
Tackle Domestic Violence offers sponsorship to the rugby league Clubs, and in return, the Clubs wear the Tackling Violence logo on their jerseys and feature in the TV commercial.
The players also sign a code of conduct, attend domestic violence education workshops and visit local schools to spread the message.
Returning Newcastle Knight, Clint Newton is passionate about stopping domestic violence against women.
Susan said he was the first current NRL ambassador to put his hand up and speak about the campaign and has offered valuable support in promoting the message for a number of years.
Newton has passionately campaigned for the cause and has spoken publicly about personal experiences of being a bystander to domestic violence and the emotional and mental damage domestic violence inflicts on its victims.
“It’s about time guys stood up for the women in their lives, and women that they don’t know,” Newton said.
“It’s still an obligation of yours, as a male, to stand up and say enough is enough and that it’s not acceptable.
“It’s always been something I’ve treated with respect, my job as a male in society.
“Sport is a great vehicle to drive certain causes and there’s no better one to drive than rugby league being against domestic violence.
“We play a physical game, but the physicality stops at training and stops at the game, and that’s the way it should be."
Newton believes it’s great for Dobson and McManus to be the faces of the campaign this year, but said the support goes a lot further.
“It’s about the whole squad as a group buying into the campaign, because whether you like it or not, you’re role models and the way you live your life, both at home and away from home reflects on you as a person.
“It’s great that we have two guys at the face of it but at the same time it doesn’t just stop there, it’s a Club thing.
“And hopefully that spreads around the community.”