The mother of the young Dockers fan who was left hanging by his idols before the club’s game against Essendon on Sunday said her son just wanted the chance to touch one of his idols.
Mel Smith said when her eight-year-old son Mitch saw he had tickets near the players’ race for the Dockers game at Etihad Stadium, the only thing he spoke about all week was getting a high five from one of his sporting heroes.
But when Mitch stuck his hand out hoping to get some “skin” from one of the Dockers players as they ran off the ground after their pre-game warm up, he was left “hanging”.
“He actually went to the game with his grandmother for his birthday and in the lead up to the game he was so excited because he was hoping to get a high five from one of the players,” she told WAtoday.
“I don’t think he was upset about not getting a high five and I can understand both sides.
“The Dockers players were focusing before the game but it would’ve been nice if Mitch got a high five.
“I feel sorry for the Dockers because of the comments on social media but most of the comments towards Mitch were positive.”
Ms Smith said she wasn’t aware her son was embroiled in the high-five saga until one of her friends sent her a story with a photo of Mitch.
“I had no idea because everything in Melbourne was about Nathan Buckley resigning,” she laughed.
“The experience hasn’t tarnished Mitch’s love for the Dockers – he will be Freo for life.
“I support the Crows and my husband goes for North Melbourne and we tried to brainwash him towards our teams, but he has always loved Nat Fyfe.”
Fyfe defended his teammates snubbing Mitch claiming the players simply didn’t see the young Dockers tragic.
He said the club would do the “right thing” by the young fan if the family got in contact with the club.
“It’s not great watching, we love all our fans, particular fans that wear number seven on their backs,” Fyfe said on Monday.
“We didn’t see the young fellow and missed the opportunity to give him a high five…usually we would.
“I’m sure if he or his mum contacts the club, we’ll do the right thing.”
Ms Smith said while her son hadn’t enjoyed all the attention she was hoping Fremantle would do something “nice” for Mitch.
“Mitch really isn’t into social media and kept saying he didn’t want to be on social media,” she said.
“But when he heard Nat Fyfe said he would do the right thing by him, he did a one-eighty.
“It’s a shame it’s the end of the season, but maybe next year when Freo come to Melbourne.
“Mitch isn’t too upset and like I said, he will be Freo for life, no matter what happens.”
Footy fans reacted with anger after the high-five snub was posted in a popular Perth Facebook group, having been viewed close to 300,000 times.
“Poor kid. What was more heartbreaking was his mum was trying to get his attention,” one person posted.
“Ashamed Freo fan.”
Another person had a dig at the footy culture at Fremantle.
“Very poor culture from a less than average AFL,” the post read.
“The fans are what make the game, not the so called superstars…good luck Freo propping up the bottom of the ladder.”
“How disgusting…do these forget their fans are the ones who make them famous,” another person posted. How hard would it have been to make a little fans day?”
The Fremantle Football Club has been contacted for comment.