Nine Richmond players have arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a cultural exchange project, and wasted no time in being initiated into the Brazilian way of life.
After 35 hours in transit, the nine players – Jake King, Dylan Grimes, Daniel Jackson, David Astbury, Matt Dea, Shane Edwards, Alex Rance, Reece Conca and Steve Morris – hit the beach for some running and weights training.
The trip isn’t a training camp, though, with the aim being for the players to explore the role that sport can play in reconciliation and social change.
The Reconciliation Exchange project, called ‘Changing the Score’, has been developed by RMIT and Bluestone Edge in partnership with Richmond and the Instituto Brasileiro deb Inovações em Saúde Social (IBISS).
The group will visit ‘favelas’, which are densely-populated slums located within, or on the outskirts of Rio, that are challenged by poverty and crime.
The players will use their knowledge and experiences as elite and professional athletes to see if they can enrich the lives of those living in the disadvantaged communities.
“I think Brazil will be an absolute reflection of Australian culture, and from what we’ve seen on the beach in regards to their sport and their music, they’re very, very passionate people,” he said.
“Hopefully, the things we’re held in high regard for at home, will actually put us in good stead here to maybe have a little bit of an influence over the coming few days, when we get into the real Brazilian culture, get into the favelas, and meet some of the kids.
“It’ll also be great to see what we can learn from them to take back to Australia and grow our influence there,” he said.
Changing the Score is funded by RMIT University, Bluestone Edge, Richmond Football Club, Karoon Gas, Rio Tinto, Costa Foundation and Drapac Group.