AFL’s inclusion boss hopes Adam Goodes will return to the fold one day

“What we need to remember is what these films demonstrate is that Adam has had his say about what has occurred,” Hosch told the Herald. “This was our work to do. This was the work of the AFL and the AFL industry to do this work, to not rely on the guidance and direction of the person who had paid the highest price for this terrible moment in our game’s history.”

I’m much more confident in terms of where we are now that we’re actually prepared to learn the lessons of the past.

AFL inclusion and social policy chief Tanya Hosch

But Hosch remained optimistic that Goodes would, at some point in the near future, return to the AFL fold. Goodes notably declined the opportunity to be involved in the traditional motorcade of retiring players on grand final day in 2015. Aside from Swans functions and some games, Goodes has almost entirely detached himself from the league and avoids the spotlight where possible.

“Talking to people who’ve seen the film or have read the AFL’s apology, [some] have actually come up to me in the last week and said, ‘I feel like I can come back to football now because this has all been expressed’,” Hosch said. “Hopefully it provides a pathway for a whole range of people and as always, I just wish Adam and his family the best. In my eyes, and the eyes of many, many others he will always be one of the greatest champions to ever play the game.

“I hope that he knows that and if he ever chooses to come back to the game, that would be a great day. It’s his choice, and I support him either way.”


Hosch, who joined the AFL in 2016, said the league had made significant strides in diversity and inclusion since the Goodes saga. Several Indigenous players including Eddie Betts, Paddy Ryder and Liam Ryan have been subjected to racist commentary on social media this year and the AFL’s reaction has been swift and decisive, acting in tandem with clubs and the AFLPA to suspend the memberships of those responsible for the posts.

“We believe we’re a game for everyone and what we saw during that period that Adam endured was a moment of confusion about exactly what was going on and how to deal with it,” Hosch said.

“I’m much more confident in terms of where we are now that we’re actually prepared to learn the lessons of the past. What these films do is give us that opportunity to keep this on the agenda, and I’m very pleased that it is.

“Whenever we get an opportunity, wherever it is in our society, to talk about racism we should lean into it and do that, because that’s when we can start to unpack it and resolve and appropriately challenge the behaviour that’s problematic.”


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