Eagles and Robins to meet in Brendon Browning Memorial

TASMANIAN cricket legend Brett Geeves is calling on local football fans to join him in a day of SFL action at the fourth annual Brendon Browning Memorial Day this Saturday, June 29. The event is held in honour of New Norfolk, Brighton and Hobart player Brendon Browning who lost his life to melanoma in 2020, aged 48.

The memorial day is about increasing awareness and raising funds for the disease. The annual event has been hosted by Brighton Football Club since its inception. It involves a day of matches between Brighton and New Norfolk at Pontville Oval. Tickets are $10.

A highlight of the day is the Brendon Browning Memorial Lunch, a ticketed event starting at 12.30pm in The Robins Nest Function Centre. This year’s guest speaker is Brett Geeves who will be sharing insights into his personal sporting highlights. He is also keen to spread awareness and sun safety practices to reduce melanoma rates among Australians.

“It’s common for cricketers to spend hours on end in the sun, and so sun safety was always drummed into us and was always top of mind. That being said, I unfortunately know plenty of people who have had melanoma,” Geeves said. “Melanoma is far too common and touches too many lives, and so prevention and research are crucial,” he said.

Sally and Chelsea Browning at last year’s Brendon Browning Day.

Brendon Browning’s family, including his daughter Chelsea, will also be in attendance. “The annual event is a beautiful way for the community to connect and celebrate my dad’s life. I just know it would be something he’d love, since footy was such a big part of his life,” Chelsea Browning said.

“Like so many others, we never imagined we’d be in this position – you never think it’ll happen to you until it does. Dad’s death was not only tragic for our family, but caused a shockwave throughout the community, particularly those who are our age,” Chelsea said. “I hope that this event not only continues his legacy but serves as a reminder to be sun-safe, so hopefully others won’t have to suffer the same fate as him.”

Known as “Horse,” Brendon Browning was an outstanding ruckman and stood out as a great player. His record reads:

  • 1991 – New Norfolk Thirds – won Best & Fairest
  • 1992 – 12 games with New Norfolk Reserves
  • 1993 – 2 Senior and 12 Reserve games with New Norfolk
  • 1994 – Runner-up Best & Fairest New Norfolk
  • 1995 & 96 – played with Hobart
  • 1997 – 19 Senior games with New Norfolk
  • 1998–99 played with Brighton
  • 2000 – Brighton – won club and SFL Best & Fairest
  • 2001 – Brighton – won club Best & Fairest

The first Brendon Browning Memorial Day in 2021was won by New Norfolk. Brighton won the shield in 2022 and retained it in 2023.

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world, with Tasmania having the second highest incidence rate in the country. One person is diagnosed with melanoma every 30 minutes and one person dies from the disease every six hours nationally. It is the most common cancer affecting 20–39-year-old Australians.

Melanoma Institute Australia chief executive Matthew Browne said changing attitudes towards tanning and improving the community’s understanding about prevention, early detection and year-round sun safety was crucial to stopping more lives being cut short by melanoma. “It’s community-led fundraising initiatives such as these that fuel our life-saving research at Melanoma Institute Australia and which also spark crucial conversations,” he said.

Melanoma Institute Australia medical directors Georgina Long and Richard Scolyer used their 2024 Australian of the Year acceptance speech to call for urgent community action to prevent melanoma. ‘There is nothing healthy about a tan. Nothing. Our ‘bronzed Aussie’ culture is actually killing us,’’ Professor Long said. “So we call on advertisers and social media influencers: stop glamourising tanning, or using it to sell or entertain. And our fellow Australians: when you see it, call it out and demand change,” she said.

Professor Scolyer added: “Imagine the outcry if smoking was still glamourised like this. We must elevate sun safety to equal status as other life-saving safety measures like seatbelts and helmets.”

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