Coming from one of the Illawarra's most prominent rugby league families, Mark Simon rarely pays much attention to the AFL or the talents of Sydney Swans superstar Adam Goodes.
But this week, the issue of racism transcended many sporting and cultural boundaries.
Simon is the coach of Port Kembla and a Group Seven representative player, dedicated to rugby league and the region's indigenous community.
He was dismayed to hear Goodes was called an "ape" by a 13-year-old girl, before the issue flared up again on Wednesday, when Collingwood president Eddie McGuire made a King Kong reference about the player on Melbourne radio.
While it has been a major talking point in Australia this week, Simon has seen the blight of racism again emerge in the Illawarra, following an alleged incident in a junior rugby league game last weekend.
A young player was allegedly subject to so much abuse from an opponent he wanted to quit the game for good.
"It took a few others to talk to him for him to want to keep playing," Simon said.
"The issue is being dealt with, but unfortunately it does happen.
"It does upset you, it's disheartening to see the issue of race raised and hopefully everyone can learn from it. Especially during Reconciliation Week."
Simon, the brother of Illawarra Steelers players John and Craig Simon, was last night coaching the Port Kembla under-9s team.
Like most youngsters, they grow up idolising the current generation of elite sportspeople, including indigenous NRL players Jamie Soward, Greg Inglis and Johnathan Thurston.
Goodes, a winner of the AFL's best-and-fairest Brownlow Medal, is placed on a similar pedestal by indigenous youth with a passion for Australian football.
Some of the Illawarra's young Aussie Rules players will have an opportunity to watch their heroes like Goodes - as well as play on the SCG during the half-time Auskick program - at the Swans game against Richmond on July 28.
"I'm not much of an AFL fan, but the kids do look up to them, people like Adam Goodes, they're leaders," Simon said.
"He's conducted himself in a great manner, he's come out and spoken about it, and done it in an appropriate way."