*Pony plays in the background*
Launched in 2015 to honour the life of Maddie Riewoldt, Maddie’s Match is set to once again bring the footy community together for an exceptionally necessary cause.
Maddie’s Match is the fundraising and awareness-building clash raising money for Maddie’s Vision – a foundation launched to help spread vital information about, and raise much-needed funds to help find a cure for, Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes (BMFS).
Maddie Riewoldt – the sister of Saints legend Nick Riewoldt and cousin of Tiger’s forward Jack Riewoldt – was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia – a rare and fatal blood disorder – in 2010. Sadly, she lost her battle five years later.
Maddie’s Match has become a highlight on the Marvel Stadium calendar, attracting an average of 43,000 footy fans. The past three instalments have seen the entire stadium transform in a breathtaking sea of purple.
Earlier this week, young Ballarat fighter Blake Dridan launched the match alongside St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt and Brisbane Lions great Jonathan Brown. Both former captains will lead a celebrity challenge as pary of the annual clash between St Kilda and Richmond.
“We’re really determined to change the outcomes and eventually find a cure for people like Blake,” Riewoldt said at the launch.
“It’s been inspirational to the whole footy community. Hopefully, we raise plenty of cash and help young blokes like Blake and other people affected by this,” Brown added.
At Sunday’s match, everyone is encouraged to wear purple, Maddie’s favourite colour.
MRV volunteers will be roaming and accepting donations stadium-wide, and MRV scarfs and beanies can be purchased at the following locations:
This year’s match will also see the launch of Maddie’s Challenge; Team Saints v Team All-Stars. Earlier in the week, Nick Riewoldt and Jonathan Brown were unveiled as the team captains for the challenge, which will see celebrities face-off in a series of challenges taking place throughout the main breaks on game day. Teams will be announced throughout the week. There will also be a special on-field performance at the half-time break of ‘Never Walk Alone.’
All Food and Beverage outlets on Sunday will stock Maddie’s Vision purple lollipops and gingerbread biscuits and post-game the winning team will present a cheque to MRV.
Onfield, both teams have struggled in the last few weeks due to some heavily injury-stricken lists. The Saints are hurting after a disappointing loss to the Lions in Round 14, while Richmond are returning from a week off following a big loss to Adelaide in Round 13. For St Kilda, Dan Hannebery showed promise in his return from injury and Nicholas Hind proved classy up forward, slotting three goals in just his second game. Adding to the Saints injury woes though, speedy forward Dean Kent looks in doubt for Sunday’s clash after hurting himself at training.
Richmond could welcome back some much-needed players this weekend, with Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, and David Astbury all rumoured to return from hamstring injuries. Jayden Short is also a chance to return from an elbow injury while Kane Lambert could make a comeback from an Achilles ailment easing the Tigers’ injury crisis slightly.
Currently, the Tigers lead the Maddie’s Match tally 2-1, so St Kilda will be ready to even the score.
Maddie’s Match will be held at Marvel Stadium on Sunday 30 June from 1.10pm.