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Film recommendation – Steelers

Start your week with a sporting endeavour – which also explores mental health and the importance of community.

STEELERS (currently on Amazon Prime) tells the story of the ‘world’s first gay rugby club’, which was set up in 1995 in London’s Kings Cross. There are now 60 such clubs around the world and every two years they gather for the world tournament of gay rugby, the Bingham Cup.

The film is made by one of the club’s former players, Australian reporter Eammon Ashton-Atkinson, who decided to document his team’s endeavours after a concussion meant he couldn’t play. He himself found the club when he moved to London from Australia, struggling with depression, and found a team which welcomed him, helped him get fit again and, ultimately, introduced him to his future husband.

As well as following the team’s campaign in the 2018 Bingham Cup played that year in Amsterdam, we follow Ashton-Atkinson’s journey as well as Simon Jones, who was also struggling with his mental health after a bad experience coming out to his best friend, and Drew McDowell, a prop by day and a fabulous drag queen by night. We also meet Nic Evans, the club’s female coach, who recounts her own problems with misogyny in the sport.

It’s a sport film, a film about community and care, for ourselves and each other, and an inspiring tale of moving forwards through life’s obstacles. Like the game it portrays, it’s also a bit scrappy and messy, but its heart shines through.

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