Aussie Sevens starting the conversation

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Sometimes solving a problem can be as simple as starting a conversation and the Aussie Sevens men’s team are striving to do exactly that.

Members of the men’s side have partnered with Raise Foundation to become qualified mentors and spend time  Narrabeen Sports High School students, each player paired with one teen for sessions once a week.

Con Foley with his Narrabeen mentee. Photo: SuppliedSevens player Pat McCutcheon has a long association with the Raise Foundation, having first linked up with the organisation when he was playing with the Waratahs in 2012, after hearing CEO Vicki Condon speak.

The Sevens team’s’ profile has grown immensely since the sport’s inclusion in the Rio Olympics and McCutcheon said the team was embracing that extra responsibility to help the community, particularly young men.

“With the Sevens going into a full-time program, the professionalism and the profile is building, we’re getting a bit more public recognition in the public eye and that role has definitely grown,” he said.

“I think the whole stigma around male role models being hard as a rock and showing no emotions is something that’s got to change because no one in the world can do that, it’s a false reality.

It's not all talking. Photo: Supplied“You need to build that trust and empathy and it’s about putting people in an environment where they can talk about their issues - whether those issues are in the classroom, the playground, the footy field, home, or wherever that might be.”

McCutcheon knows the importance of just one question or one conversation when it comes to tough times, having worked his way through some serious injuries in his career.

“In. 2012, I broke my leg out for 12 months,” he said.

“I was depressed, saddened, doing it tough but I was lucky had a good support around me, Lachie Turner, Damien Fitzpatrick, guys like that.

Frank Winterstein with his mentee. Photo: Supplied“We were all working our way through rehab and we’d see each other in the gym and some days we’d be good and some days one of us might be struggling, so we’d help each other.”

McCutcheon hopes the program will expand beyond schools, with plans to take it to rugby clubs and other community arenas to provide support to as many people as possible.

The Aussie Sevens are holding a golf day at Cromer Golf Club in partnership with Raise on Tuesday October 18 to help grow the program.

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