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‘Heartbroken’ McGuire hopes Goodes films will bring about change

The fallout from McGuire’s “King Kong” comment, when he suggested Goodes be used for the promotion of the musical of the same name, is also explored in two documentaries, The Final Quarter and The Australian Dream, which will premiere in June and August respectively.

McGuire was widely criticised for what he termed a “slip”, which undermined his efforts to repair the situation after the 2013 Magpies-Swans game at which Goodes was racially vilified, and for suggesting Goodes should have flagged his intention to perform a war dance at Carlton fans during the AFL’s Indigenous round in 2015.

Those who have seen The Final Quarter, which was shown this week to the AFL chief Gillon McLachlan and the 18 club CEOs, have described it as “confronting” and noted parts do not reflect well on McGuire. It is understood club chiefs discussed the issue of racism after viewing the film this week.

My point of view is you’re heartbroken that Adam felt at the end the game he served so well had forsaken him

Eddie Maguire

Goodes has avoided the spotlight since his retirement, largely limiting his public appearances to Swans functions. He knocked back an invitation by the AFL to participate in a lap of honour during the 2015 grand final.

McGuire has urged football fans not to be “defensive” when they watch The Final Quarter.

“There is a far greater appreciation from people who watch both these documentaries as to Adam’s mindset and those around him and what was happening in Adam’s world at that stage,” McGuire said.

“My point of view is you’re heartbroken that Adam felt at the end the game he served so well had forsaken him.

“If you can see someone who’s been a champion of the game, got to the end of his celebrated career and didn’t want to do a lap of honour at the MCG, it’s heartbreaking. We have to learn from that. That’s why I encourage people to go.”

Swans chairman Andrew Pridham said this week he believed the AFL had “materially improved” in how it handled racism since the booing saga.

McGuire hopes the films will make for a more “inclusive” game so that there is no repeat of the episode that marred Goodes’ last year.

“If at some stage Adam feels he could return to the game, then we all know that’s wonderful and fantastic but at the same time I’m conscious while that might make us feel wonderful and fantastic we have to make Adam feel wonderful and fantastic about his position in the game,” McGuire said. “And I hope this is going to be a really large step towards that.”

McGuire, who was given a screening earlier this year, said he is “long past” worrying how he is viewed in Goodes’ story, and wants to steer “serious, grown up, empathetic conversations”.

“Is it a documentary I’d like to be involved the way I am? No, of course not, but that’s what happened at the time,” McGuire said.

“It’s a documentary about what was happening in Adam’s life with bit part players around it. We want a bit of confrontation in these things. Most people who are going to watch this in the footy industry and younger Australia – we want to be challenged because we want to be better, we want to learn from these things.

“I just implore people to go into this with an open, empathetic mind. Go in, understand, learn and discuss and let’s see what we can do with this great game that’s doing so many great things.”

Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald

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