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© THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
In 2011, the West Coast Eagles launched the Medibank Coats For A Cause match day, which saw past West Coast stars Michael Brennan, Tony Evans, Mitchell White, Rowan Jones, Don Pyke, Chris Waterman, Dwayne Lamb, Ashley McIntosh and Adrian Barich all reunite in the name of charity.
The West Coast Eagles Football Club, together with these philanthropic past players, encouraged all members, supporters and fans attending the round 11 match against the Gold Coast Suns to bring along and donate an article of clothing to assist Western Australians in need.
These West Coast legends were positioned around Patersons Stadium during the match to receive donations and support this worthy cause.
The match was a huge success, with Eagles supporters showing just how generous they are, donating more than 6,000 coats, jackets, scarves and beanies. The West Coast Eagles and Medibank directed all these donations to the thousands of disadvantaged Western Australians experiencing financial hardship or crisis.
Former West Coast defender and dual premiership player Don Pyke said many families in and around Perth are currently under much financial stress, whether it be rental and property prices, or the increasing cost of living.
“There are 13,000 people in WA struggling with homelessness, and nearly 350,000 who are facing the great risk of falling into poverty. It has become increasingly difficult for many low income Western Australians to secure and maintain rental accommodation, let alone purchase a home of their own,” said Pyke.
“The idea for Coats for a Cause actually came from the US. In Chicago it’s called Operation Warming, and the members and supporters come in and bring in jackets to help out the disadvantaged in Chicago.
“You’ve got 35,000 to 45,000 people turning up to a winter sport game bringing jackets to keep themselves warm.
"So we thought wouldn’t it be great if we could adopt this as a game day initiative, take it to the members and supporters, and help the people in need?”
“We have a truck full of collections from the game. Our aim was simply about raising awareness and collecting enough clothing to help those in need this winter, so the day was a great success.
“It was fantastic for us, as past players, to be able to support the wider community and interact with the members and supporters who clearly have fond memories of the past success of our club,” he added.
After the huge success of the match day and the incredible support from members and fans, the West Coast Eagles Football Club is looking forward to many more Coats For A Cause match days.