Having the ability to confide with someone at their Club is a vital component of ensuring modern-day athletes have access to well-rounded support.
For Melbourne Rebels Club Chaplain David Latianara, this is a philosophy which he serves to live by.
A quietly spoken, yet friendly figure seen regularly around Rebels HQ, Latianara was appointed as Club Chaplain for the 2019 season.
While most would associate the role of Club Chaplain as a heavily religious one, Latianara believes it’s anything but that.
Latianara says his role is all about being a guiding figure and helping players make personal choices or allowing them to air any issues which they may have.
“As a pastor and Club Chaplain, my role here is to share the love,” he said.
“I’m here to support, to guide and help direct. I’m not here to push religion, I’m here to grow relationships with people and help them to discover their next step.”
While he may have recently started in his new role, Latianara is no stranger to the Club, having worked at the Rebels for two years while undertaking work with the Red Frogs, a support program which aids to help young people avoid dangerous and life altering behaviours.
Another reason Latianara isn’t unfamiliar to those at the Club is due to his connection with a key member of the playing group, having been a former first grade rugby player in Victoria.
“I was coming in doing some stuff with the Red Frogs and I also played for the Moorabbin Rams, so I know Tetera Faulkner, me and him used to play first grade together,” he said.
“Over time, the former Chaplain referred me as the best fit for the role and here we are.”
Latianara may also be a familiar name to those who live in the Richmond area, with the Club Chaplain also holding the role as pastor at Bridge Church, while also previously bring a youth pastor at the same venue.
His experience in these roles has helped him become an ideal person for players at the Club to speak to about connecting them with philanthropic work which they might interested in doing, such as working with homeless individuals or disadvantaged people.
Latianara also deals with players discussing their everyday life, family life or even helping further their education while working in conjunction with the Club’s RUPA Player Manager Kim Gray.
Along his line of work, one aspect which Latianara thoroughly enjoys is helping the players discover new things which they become extremely invested in.
“One of my biggest honours is coming here with no agenda and helping these guys with their next step and discovering their passions and seeing them engage in something which may be something I’ve introduced to them,” Latianara said.
“Even them coming to me has been a big eye opener that I do have value to share to the boys, and they see me as a good sense of resource.
“But it’s also great that they see me as a friend, and they can come and have a conversation about everyday issues.”