Beau Busch: ‘Player engagement in A-League Men Report shows how important the organization is’

“I don’t think gamers of a previous generation had to sacrifice more to ensure the survival of the industry in this country,” Busch said.

“The players undertook several periods of quarantine, were separated from loved ones for long periods of time and played games during an extremely condensed period. These challenges were immense, but they allowed us to have an industry on which we can rely.

Although the pandemic has created challenges, the future looks bright for Australian rules football: the men’s national team are preparing for their fifth consecutive world final, while the women’s national team are preparing for a World Cup in home next year.

“The next 12 months present a huge opportunity for the game in this country. We recognize that the professional leagues need to take important steps and the report highlights a solid platform from which to do so,” Busch said.

“As a union, our ambition is to ensure that players are well positioned to ensure that this opportunity materializes and that we have a stronger profession as a result.”

As the report states, the building blocks for a bright future are there – with the men of the A-League leading other Asian competitions in providing opportunities for young talent.

“We have always believed in our ability to produce talented players and the league has a vital role to play in that,” Busch said. “What encouraged us was that players have opportunities across the league, not just at one club.

“The collective challenge now is to ensure that we turn the opportunities into the support needed to ensure these young players fulfill their potential on and off the pitch.”