When AFL team the Sydney Swans swept into Marrickville West Primary School last week you can imagine the fuss and excitement. Working together in partnership with Addi Road, the Swans were all the more popular for offering us a big helping hand at the MWPS’ Breakfast Club that is run at the school by Connect Marrickville.

It was real team effort from all involved. Across the morning, Addi Road and the Swans cooked up 450 sausages, sauced and wrapped for recess. The Marrickville West Breakfast Club has a simple slogan that explains the heart of the project: ‘Food, Fun and Fuel at the Start of a Learning Week’. Addi Road pulling the Swans in was just the capper on a more special morning, the presence of the players and their autographs an added bonus with the food being served.

Swans midfield defender Caleb Mitchell is 18-years-old, not really that much older than the children he was cooking for. He describes the atmosphere at Marrickville West Primary School as “very welcoming” in a wry way that suggests the amount of enthusiasm the players received. “The kids loved it,” he says. “A couple of them asked for a hug. I haven’t been hugged too much like that lately. Am more used to getting a few bumps on the field,” he laughs. “It was so nice to see them smile, crowding around, having a decent meal. It was a real treat for all of us.”

Brett Kirk, a former Captain of the Sydney Swans, and now Head of Wellbeing and Development as well Assistant Coach for the team, understands how vital this interaction is from every angle. “It’s important for us that the players get involved in the community. They are in the fortunate position of being paid to play sport. It’s good for them to get an understanding of the different ways people are doing it tough out there. It’s all about getting a perspective on life, really. It’s a big reason why we have been working with Addi Road so much over the last three years.”

The Sydney Swans Diversity Action Plan mapped out all the way until October 2025 has placed Addi Road as a Multicultural Inclusion Partner. Brett Kirk sees this weaving together in significant ways for his young champions and the club as a whole. “The relationship with Addi Road continues to evolve and the inclusive and multicultural elements at Addi Road are a big part of things for us. Addi Road is such a melting pot of different people and different ways of life. It’s a great fit for us. The Swans are showing that footy, sport of all kinds, should be available and open to everyone – no matter what their background is.”

Addi Road CEO Rosanna Barbero explains how “the partnership with the Sydney Swans goes back to COVID, when some of players first started coming here and volunteering to pack food hampers for people struggling through the lockdowns. It’s just evolved and become a bigger thing. The Swans have been coming to pack food relief hampers to this very day. They did it during the lockdowns, the floods and they are doing it now. And they put their hands up to help out at things we are involved with like the school breakfasts too. They also really embraced our ‘RacismNotWelcome’ campaign. The Swans wore our t-shirts on the field for their warm-up during NAIDOC Week last year. They’ve just been brilliant. They more than just partners to us, they’ve become our friends.”


Photo credit: Sydney Swans Brett Kirk and Addi Road Food Pantry Manager Damien Moore at Marrickville West Primary School.