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This weekend, in conjunction with the AFL is VAFA Multicultural Round. The VAFA has a proud history of incorporating different cultures into the competition but in 2013 that has been stepped up to a new level. 
The introduction of two new clubs – Masala and Dragons – to the competition who have their foundations based on providing opportunities to players from different cultural backgrounds has been a welcome addition to the Association.
Much has been spoken about Masala and Dragons and what they have brought to the competition already. 
Perhaps less well known is the work of other VAFA clubs that have been setting the bar high for providing a fantastic playing environment for diverse cultures for a number of years. 
The Hawthorn ‘Spartans’, the Club XVIII side of Hawthorn Amateurs are particularly proud of their cultural diversity. 
One of the VAFA’s older clubs AJAX, has been home to some great Jewish footballers in the past 50 years. This year the AJAX Thirds side was granted permission to play most of their home games on Sunday to allow Jewish orthodox players the chance to to play football. 
Returning to Hawthorn Amateur Football Club and how their Club XVIII team was formed by a group of friends, mostly of Greek descent, who wanted to have a go at playing football together.
Many had played a bit of Aussie rules before and a few had kicked the oval shaped ball in the park, believing they could emulate Daicos or Koutafides if only they had the chance.
So it was that George & Phiv Demetriou set about finding a potential home for this group of Greek “would be footballers”, with a view to playing regular Saturday footy at a level the group would be challenged and able to enjoy.
A working group approached the HAFC to ascertain the consideration for a third team under the Hawks umbrella – thus it was that the HAFC Club XVIII was formed and have become a key part of the Rathmines Rd Hawks Nest – now in their third season of Club 18 football within the VAFA ranks. 
Affectionately referring to themselves as the Spartans, the group have had wonderful success and are looking forward to playing finals footy again in 2013.
Over the next few days you will see more great stories about VAFA club’s and the players that come together on a Saturday to wear a club jumper as one. 

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