NOT MANY people get the chance to leave an organisation on their own accord… twice, but not many people are like Alipate Carlile.

Carlile, who retired from a 167-game playing career with Port Adelaide at the end of 2016, has spent the nearly five years since working as the club’s Multicultural Programs Manager.

Affectionately known as “Bobby”, he has headed up the Power Intercultural Program, growing it from 180 students in 2017 to about 400 students from 15 schools and more than 200 ethnic groups in 2021.

The conclusion last week of the 2021 program was Carlile’s last, with his announcement that he would step away to support his wife Jo with full-time study and to focus on family and his business interests.

“The growth of the Power Intercultural Program is a direct reflection of Bobby’s passion for working with and supporting young people, specifically those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” said GM – Power Community Limited, Jake Battifuoco.

“Bobby is loved by the students as a role model and mentor as much as he is loved by everyone at the club for his quick wit and ability to bring everyone together.

“Separate to the Power Intercultural Program, Bobby has also facilitated across all community programs which has added significant value to the young people involved.”

The Power Intercultural Program (PIP) is an education program designed to celebrate the vibrancy of cultural diversity and expression, and promote inclusion and social cohesion by recognising the positive contribution of different cultures within Australia. 

Delivered to students in years 10 and 11 from schools across the state with large multicultural populations, PIP uses current and past Port Adelaide Football Club players and female role models to help students explore their own culture, Indigenous cultures and other cultures within their school community to develop an understanding of the differences and similarities.

Students celebrate a semester of study with the annual nine-a-side football carnival, and it is there that Carlile has been most comfortable, making the day a big celebration of multiculturalism and diversity. 

“It was always special to see Bobby having fun and interacting with the kids – probably because he is a bit of a big kid himself,” said club chief executive Matthew Richardson.

“Bobby is a life member of the club, having contributed so much on and off field, and we are very grateful for his contribution.”

Alipate Carlile and senior coach Ken Hinkley celebrate a win in 2015.

A resolute key defender, Carlile’s eleven year playing career came to an end as a result of persistent injuries.

Recruited in the 2005 national draft with pick 44, Carlile debuted in his inaugural year with the club and was named the Power’s best player under 21 in 2008.

He became the club’s premier key defender and went on to mentor younger backmen, including current tall Tom Clurey.

Carlile is a father of two and his business interests include three gyms.