GWS coach Alan McConnell insists the bond Haneen Zrekia shares with her AFLW teammates remains intact despite her decision to sit out Pride round on religious grounds.
Zrekia dropped a bombshell this week when she announced to her teammates that she wouldn’t play in Friday’s home clash with the Bulldogs in order to avoid wearing the team’s pride guernsey.
The 22-year-old strives to be a leader in the Muslin community, and it’s believed she feared wearing the jumper could compromise her standing.
McConnell addressed the issue after his team’s 21-point win over the Bulldogs.
“As I said to Haneen, we can have similar opinions, different opinions, but they’ll never break the bond that we have for one another and that she has with her teammates,” McConnell said.
“I’m very comfortable and confident that’s all intact.
We empathise with the challenges she faces in these circumstances, but equally we’re really proud of the connection and obligations we have to the LBGTQI community.
“The truth is, this has been a special round and a special couple of weeks for pride round.
“But I’m actually really proud of the fact that we live really strong values in terms of inclusion every day of the week, every week of the year at our footy club.
“And in particular in relation to this term. I’m very comfortable with where we sit.”
Zrekia attended Friday’s match and joined in on the team song via FaceTime.