LISA MILLAR explores sporting clubs fighting COVID in BACK ROADS

The community that plays together, stays together.

Guest presenter Lisa Millar presents a Back Roads COVID-19 special program about how a community comes together when the heart of the town is not able to beat.

Sporting clubs are the ‘lifeblood’ of small communities, but they take on extra-special meaning in farming areas, where most locals work on their own and many kilometres separate them from their neighbours. The club creates the social fabric that binds a community.

The members of the Rokewood-Corindhap Football Netball Club, known as the Grasshoppers or more commonly, the ‘Hoppers’, have always loved their club for exactly that reason.

Since the towns of Rokewood and Corindap in Victoria, just six minutes apart, merged their teams in 1932  and became the  ‘Hoppers’, they’ve played and stayed together through a world war, droughts and bushfires. But COVID-19 presented the biggest threat of all.

By forcing people physically apart, it threatened to tear the fabric that bound together this tiny community of just three hundred and fifty locals.

The club’s first instinct was to make sure everyone stayed connected…in the warm and funny way characteristic of the ‘Hoppers’.

A series of home-made videos was kickstarted by one that immediately went viral.

Starring senior co-coach, Shaune ‘Spider’ Moloney and club member, Ben ‘the Hulk’ Hochuli, it was a tongue-in-cheek cry for players to become farm-fit rather than gym-fit during self-isolation.

‘Farm-fit vs gym fit’, which now has more than 300,000 views, was quickly followed by the Naked Chef… We’ll leave that to your imagination.

Online training sessions and a phone register to keep in regular contact with loyal volunteers,  built on the viral videos. As a result,  the global pandemic that’s forced everyone physically apart, has been no match for the bonds that unite this community of ‘Hoppers’.

Join Lisa Millar as she issues a ‘farm-fit’ challenge of her own and enjoys meeting and laughing with the ‘Hopper’ family.

Production details: Executive Producer, Brigid Donovan.

Back Roads, Series 6, Episode 3 – Rokewood-Corindhap, Victoria
Monday June 22 at 8pm on ABC

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