Adam Goodes’ incredible career has now been immortalised by the Sydney Swans, with a bronze statue erected outside the club’s headquarters.
The statue, which was installed on Thursday and concealed until it was revealed on Friday afternoon, shows Goodes performing the Indigenous war dance as he did against Carlton in 2015 in what wound up being his final season.
The 43-year-old chose the iconic moment as what would be immortalised with the statue.
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Goodes’ dance was wildly polarising at the time, and Swans benefactor Basil Sellers, who commissioned the statue, said the Swans champion was “badly hurt” by the reaction.
“He’s a sensitive person under that strong football exterior. It hit him hard,” he told The Age.
“It was about representing our people and our passion and dance is a big way we do that,” Goodes said at the time in response to the negative commentary surrounding the dance.
“There was nothing untoward towards the Carlton supporters, it is actually something for them to stand up and say: ‘Yep, cool – we see you, we acknowledge you, bring it on’ … If people don’t understand it, let’s take the time to understand it. Take a chill pill, understand what I was doing.”
Goodes was joined by Swans chairman Andrew Pridham, other club bosses and the club’s Indigenous past players including Michael O’Loughlin, Lewis Jetta, Derek Kickett, Byron Sumner and Troy Cook.
”Adam Goodes owes football and the people of Australia nothing. However, we collectively owe him so much,” Pridham said in an emotional speech at the unveiling.
Goodes’ iconic war dance celebration
“So Adam, please accept this sculpture as a symbol of our gratitude and respect for showing us your strengths as a role model across so many diverse fields of achievement.”
Goodes was one of the most dominant players of his generation, but has stayed out of AFL circles since his retirement in 2015 due to the game’s lack of protection towards him during his final two years while he was roundly racially abused.
The AFL issued an apology to the Swans champion for its inaction four years after his final season.
Goodes played 372 games and kicked 464 goals for the Swans in a glittering career between 1999 and 2015. He won two premierships, two Brownlow Medals and was named in the All-Australian team four times, as well as being a three-time club best and fairest winner.
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