AFL flag winners Morton, Taylor take ice bath at Chapman Valley for motor neurone disease fundraising round

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Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
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AFL premiership winner Mitch Morton enjoying the cold.
Camera IconAFL premiership winner Mitch Morton enjoying the cold. Credit: Supplied

Two AFL premiership players were among those who took the icy plunge and helped the Great Northern Football League raise thousands of dollars to fight motor neurone disease on Saturday.

Star power came from Northampton’s Harry Taylor and fellow AFL flag winner Mitch Morton, who made a guest appearance for hosts Chapman Valley in their clash with the visiting Rams.

MND round organiser Mark Houston estimated the event at Chapman Valley raised around $25,000 as a “ballpark figure”.

Valley had planned to donate $100 for every goal kicked by their sides across all grades, but after the club managed just 12 goals in total, it raised the donation from $1200 to $2000. “It was well attended and a lot of fun,” Houston said. “There was definitely a big crowd and a bit of money was raised. It was a big night for the club. It was nice and cold. It was certainly great to have that sort of star power involved and it was a bit of fun for the crowd.

“We didn’t have a very good day on the scoreboard ... so the club donated $2000.”

Taylor, who won AFL premierships with Geelong in 2009 and 2011, said the water in the slide for the post-game dip was probably around 5C but after hundreds of rehab sessions in a 13-year career with Geelong, it didn’t phase him.

“The game was well supported from a spectator point of view, which was fantastic, and clearly it’s for a really good cause,” he said.

“It was good, I enjoyed it.

“There were plenty of people there which was great.

“From living in Geelong, I’m not too concerned with cold water so it was OK ... I’ve done a few ice baths in my career.”

Valley women’s players Kayley King and Brooke Elward, who have both lost grandmothers to MND, joined Taylor on the slide with ex-Sydney forward Mitch “The Determinator” Morton, who won a premiership with the Swans in 2012.

Also taking the plunge was league president Colin Cox. Past colts premiership coach Stephen Broadhurst, life members Craig Thompson and Craig Woodman, and Northampton reserves coach Ryley Fenner also dressed up.

Nathan Gray, a previous club fairest-and-best winner who lost an aunty to MND, did too, and former coach Brad Forrester, who travelled up from Esperance and umpired the league game as well as getting in line for a freezing.

The club auctioned jumpers and sold beanies and socks and raffle tickets, as well as taking donations.

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