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Goodes Documentary Maker Wants Australia To Have A Real Conversation About Racism

The director of an upcoming film detailing the tumultuous end of Adam Goodes' AFL career hopes the documentary will give the country a second chance to deal with the divisive issue at its core.

Using only archival footage aired at the time, The Final Quarter tells the story of the last three seasons Goodes took to the field for the Sydney Swans.

Holding a mirror up to Australia, the documentary is an opportunity to reconsider what happened on and off the football field during this difficult chapter in Australian sport -- an opportunity Ian Darling wants no one to shy away from.

"I think we never actually had the conversation," Darling, the film's director, told the Sunday Project.

"That we had one of the greatest sporting identities of the nation and a great Australian, an Australian of the Year, who was literally booed from the game and then once he left, we as a nation kind of swept it under the carpet."

"I felt we actually needed to go back and explore what happened and do it in a very factual manner and have that conversation again."

Image: Getty

Goodes, a dual Brownlow medallist, dual premiership winner, former Australian of the Year, and champion of programs promoting the advancement of Indigenous Australians, ended his career in disgraceful scenes, booed by crowds across the country.

It all stemmed from an incident in May 2013, when Goodes stood and pointed at a 13-year-old Collingwood supporter who had called him an "ape" -- a particularly vile insult for a man of Indigenous heritage.

The teenager was escorted from the game by security guards, and cheers quickly became boos as the crowd turned on Goodes.

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The Final Quarter features no narrator and no new interviews, instead, tells the story solely through media coverage from the time.

Darling said the decision provides viewers with a chance to see the events with fresh eyes and -- hopefully -- open ears.

"I'm hoping that we actually go back and listen for the first time," he said.

"I think that part of the problem was not what Adam said but the fact that we didn't listen to him. This gives us an opportunity to go back and just see how much he was misquoted and how much we didn't listen to him." 

Former Swans player Adam Goodes thanks the crowd during a lap of honour during the round three AFL match, 2016. Image: AAP

By the time Goodes left the game in 2015, his treatment at the hands of football fans and media commentators had divided the nation.

He had publicly called out racism, was accused of staging free kicks, and performed an on-field war dance celebration -- with each passing game, Australians on either side of the debate dug their heels in on whether or not it was racism behind the backlash.

Four years later, Darling hopes we can go beyond this.

"I'm just hoping that we're all prepared to talk about it but not have the conversation we had last time where we were arguing about whether it was racist or not," he told The Project panel.

"I think what the film highlights is that it was. What we now need to be talking about is how we ensure this never happens again."

Goodes himself played no part in the making of the film, but having watched it, gave it his full support.

"As confronting as I have found the film, I look forward to the conversation it will help generate," Goodes said.

The Final Quarter and accompanying educational resources will be donated to every school and registered sporting club in Australia, in a bid to foster widespread talks about racism.

You can watch The Final Quarter on July 18 on Channel 10.