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Collingwood in 2017 began a partnership with Vicdeaf aiming to providing increased accessibility to the club, and aiming to promote greater inclusion of the Deaf and hard of hearing community. 

Representatives at the not-for-profit organisation believe that after 130 years in operation, public interest in services offered to the Deaf and hard of hearing community is reaching an all-time high. 

“Partnering with the Collingwood Football Club will give us greater avenues to provide an understanding in the community of the deaf community’s language and culture,” Vicdeaf Director of Language, Partnerships and Innovation Brent Phillips said. 

“AFL football is a huge part of Melbourne’s culture and Vicdeaf is excited to play a role… to provide deaf and hard of hearing people opportunities to watch and enjoy the football.”

Young Magpie Sam McLarty plays and trains wearing a cochlear implant. In his first year at the club, he has helped educate those around him on the unique challenges experienced by Deaf and hard of hearing people.

“It gives you a far greater appreciation of his ability to get through the TAC system and to earn his way onto a playing list, given the challenges he has faced as a young man,” Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said of McLarty.

“He continues to go from strength to strength… his game sense and his awareness is really strong because he’s had to find different ways and strengthen different parts of his awareness.”

The Vicdeaf partnership with Collingwood will see interpreters available at significant Collingwood events and press conferences.