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Fibre of Football

Shearers, woolgrowers, agents and studmasters are uniting to celebrate the rich heritage connecting the wool industry and Australian Football.

The idea for Australia's native game came to Tom Wills while on his pastoralist father's sheep station 'Lexington' near Moyston in Victoria in the mid 19th century and since that time the wool industry and football have been closely knitted together.

AWI launched its Fibre of Football campaign in 2014 at the world's biggest sheep event, the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo. The campaign now involves many initiatives including placing the natural fibre into football supporter apparel.

 

Wool back in AFL Licensed merchandise

100 per cent Australian Merino wool retro football jumpers, scarves, gloves and beanies are available as part of the supporter apparel offering at AFL Club stores as well as www.shop.afl.com.au

With the start of the 2015 Australian Football League (AFL) season came the historic development that all clubs in the competition are selling AFL Licensed Australian wool products for the first time in decades.

100 per cent Australian Merino wool retro football jumpers, scarves, gloves and beanies are available as part of the supporter apparel offering at AFL Club stores as well as www.shop.afl.com.au

The re-entry of wool into AFL merchandise comes after 18 months of work by AWI alongside AFL merchandise licensee PlayCorp together with testing and trials with Australian manufacturers such as Lyon Sportswear and Wangaratta Woollen Mills.

 

Wool traced in Australia

Woolgrowers across the country whose fibre is being used in the jumpers are supporter gear talk with pride of where their wool is being used.

 

The King family of 'Range View', Darkan, WA

Jeremy King: "The fact that our wool is involved is terrific. We want to produce the best quality fibre that is as soft as it possibly can be. It’ll keep you very warm on those cold nights when you’re up in the stadium watching your football team play."

 

David Cooper of 'Clermont', Mulwala, NSW

David Cooper: "It’s great to understand that my wool is going to go into the jumpers for the footballers and for the fans. I think it’s a great idea; there should be wool in an iconic game like AFL, and I'm even more pleased that it’s my wool that’s going in there."

 

Official AFL Knit Kits are also available for footy fans to hand knit 100 per cent Australian wool beanies and scarves in 17 AFL clubs. Made at the Wangaratta Woollen Mills, the kits are available for purchase at AFL clubs, www.shop.afl.com.au and local yarn stores.

Knit Kits in AFL club colours for child and adult beanies and scarves

Knit Kits in AFL club colours for child and adult beanies and scarves. The kits contain balls of 100% Australian wool 14ply yarn, 7mm knitting needles, wool needle, instruction leaflet, AFL fabric badge and club fabric badge.

 

Fyfe, Hawkins and Breust share their country heritage

Fibre of Football advocate Nat Fyfe of the Fremantle Dockers has always enjoyed helping out with his family’s transport business: "Sheep is probably our favourite [to transport] because it is so hands on and interactive with the animals."

Fibre of Football advocate Tom Hawkins of the Geelong Cats is from a wool, cropping and rice property at Finley, NSW: "I love coming back [to the family farm]; it’s a great release from playing football."

Fibre of Football advocate Luke Breust of Hawthorn grew up on a sheep property near Temora in NSW. Join the family back on the farm where it all began for Luke who honed his sharp goal kicking skill by kicking between the silos with his brother. 

AWI's Fibre of Football advocates Geelong's Tom HawkinsFremantle's Nat Fyfe and Hawthorn's Luke Breust have been filmed at home by AWI for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at where they come from and the importance of their country origins to the way they play Australia's game.

From Lake Grace in WA, Nat Fyfe, the AFL's most valuable player for 2014, gets home when he can and enjoys the solitude that comes with driving for his family's transport business. Having completed a shearing school as a young man, he enjoys working with sheep and working dogs.

Tom Hawkins enjoys getting home to the family farm as a similar release from his high profile sporting life. The sheep, rice and beef property near Finley in NSW is a great break for the champion Geelong full forward who says he honed much of his kicking skill around the woolshed.

Before Hawthorn sharpshooter Luke Breust became a dual premiership and 2014 All-Australian player he was a woolgrower and a farmer. Growing up on a sheep property near Temora in NSW the Breust family juggled a busy life of farming and sport.

The Ultimate Wool Team

AWI has partnered with The Footy Almanac to compile the Ultimate Wool Team: a team of people who have contributed significantly to both wool and football.

The discussion surrounding the selection of the ultimate wool team has been both enlightening and significant.

State teams have been announced. Take a look at The Footy Almanac website.