Former Port Adelaide star Tom Rockliff reveals Carlton fans SPAT at him during his first time taking his four-year-old son to an AFL game: ‘I’ll be very hesitant to take him again’
Former Brisbane Lions and Port Adelaide star Tom Rockliff admitted he would be ‘very hesitant’ to take his son to the footy after he was spat on by Carlton fans on Sunday.
Rockliff went to the MCG on Sunday afternoon along with his four-year-old son to watch his former club take on the Blues.
Sat in the Shane Warne Stand, the two almost witnessed a comeback for the ages as Port lost 94-91 after trailing by 50 points.
Tom Rockliff attended Port vs Carlton at the MCG along with his four-year-old son Jack
What should have been a memorable day out, however, turned sour when the former AFL star was spat on as he walked away from the MCG
‘What a way to be let down,’ Rockliff wrote on Twitter. ‘Carlton supporters spitting at me when I am walking home with my son is not on. Passion is great but let’s remember it’s sport.’
In a follow-up tweet, the former Port star added: ‘I admit I was cheering harder than anyone at the ‘G and pushed it [the boundary] – but there is a difference between cheering and being spat at.’
The former Port and Brisbane player revealed he was spat at by Carlton fans on the way out
Rockliff admitted he cheered for Port as hard as anyone, but felt the incident crossed a line
Speaking to Fox Footy after the game, Rockfliff said the incident would make him consider to take his son at an AFL game, noting the treatment he received was one of the reasons some former players opt not to watch games from the stands.
‘I just want everyone to have a good experience when they go to the footy,’ he said.
‘People want to get into ex-AFL players or former footy people that have been at clubs and say ‘you don’t sit in the nosebleeds or in the crowd’ – well I took my son today to the crowd and, I tell you what, I’ll be very, very hesitant to do it again.’
Port fell just short of pulling off a miraculous comeback as they lost 94-91 to Carlton
Rockliff said he had no problem with copping verbal volleys from rival fans, but being spat at was several steps too far.
He felt particularly disappointed with the incident as it unfolded in front of his son after what had been a special occasion for his four-year-old child.
‘I’ve got no issue with anything that gets said,’ he added.
‘But after it’s said and done and you walk out getting spat at, it’s pretty disrespectful – not only to me, but it leaves a sour taste in my son’s mouth as well […] for him to leave with that experience is really disappointing.’
Rockliff insisted the overwhelming majority of Blues fans behaved brilliantly around him
The 32-year-old, who retired at the end of last season, insisted the atmosphere had been lively but largely respectful up until he walked away from the MCG.
‘They were very verbal inside the ground [during the first half] and I just covered up my son’s ears, but when you get a little saliva spat at you […] it’s not a great feeling,’ he added.
‘My four-year-old overall had a great experience, he’s got his first flag he’s been able to wave after Port Adelaide kicked a goal – and they kicked a lot in the second half – but to take that away from him on the walk home was really disappointing to say the least.’
Rockliff hinted he will return to games as fan but urged supporters to behave appropriately
In a series of tweets shared hours after the game, Rockliff praised the majority of Carlton fans and the Blues for their performances this season, urging supporters to get on ‘the Blues Train’ and hinted he will eventually attend more games as a fan.
‘If you go to the footy support hard but leave it there,’ he wrote.
‘I was supporting as hard as anyone, but never overstepped the mark. Go for your team but don’t attack an opponent. I will be back, but let’s be great supporters.’