Adelaide Crows Foundation

O’Brien wins Adelaide Crows Foundation award


Adelaide ruckman Reilly O’Brien has been awarded the 2023 Adelaide Crows Foundation Community Leadership Award for his outstanding commitment to the Club’s community programs and initiatives.

The award was established by the Foundation in 2015 to acknowledge players’ exceptional contributions to the community and was awarded to O’Brien at the Crows’ Club Champion event on Saturday night.

This year, O’Brien has played a pivotal role in ensuring children in need and their families have an outstanding experience through the Foundation’s Crows Care program.

Crows Care is about providing uplifting experiences and support to children and youth who are having a difficult time through illness or other life events.

The 28-year-old always makes a significant effort when young fans visit the Club and has gone above and beyond to provide ongoing support for several families who have been part of Crows Care.

One example is the backing he has given young fan Ethan Charmings as he went through treatment for a rare form of bone cancer which also saw his leg amputated.

O’Brien was part of a group from the Club who visited Ethan and his family at their home to bring them some respite from the trauma of the diagnosis and treatment. Through the Foundation, Ethan and his family then enjoyed a special day at the Club, with the family given access to a corporate box at Adelaide Oval.

In the weeks that followed, Reilly went out of his way to provide extra experiences and care for the family, including tickets to matches, change room passes and ongoing mentoring.

He has displayed great enthusiasm for all of the Foundation’s programs, and attended the APY Lands in September during his off-season to assist with the delivery of Crows on Country which combines football and education to inspire student attendance and learning, particularly across STEM (science and maths) subjects. 

O’Brien has also been appointed as an ambassador for the Open Parachute program which is aimed at improving child and youth mental health.

A partnership between the Adelaide Crows Foundation and The Sebastian Foundation – the charity of Guy and Jules Sebastian – was launched earlier this year to subsidise the Open Parachute program for thousands of South Australian students. 

As part of this, Reilly was instrumental in encouraging players to take part in a training session led by program founder Dr Hayley Watson to assist players in their role attending classrooms to share their own personal experiences with overcoming challenges and building resilience.

Adelaide Crows Foundation Chair Kate Thiele presented O’Brien with the award and thanked him for his contributions. 

“This year, Reilly’s passion to support people from all backgrounds and abilities has been evident,” Thiele said. 

“He’s extremely deserving of this accolade and, on behalf of the Foundation, I’d like to congratulate him for his work which has made a real difference in the community.” 

Winners of the Adelaide Crows Foundation Community Leadership Award:

2015 – Taylor Walker

2016 – Kyle Hartigan and Charlie Cameron

2017 – Eddie Betts

2018 – Hugh Greenwood

2019 – Tom Doedee

2020 – Not awarded

2021 – Not awarded

2022 – Tom Doedee

2023 – Reilly O’Brien