Written and directed by Eammon Ashton-Atkinson, Steelers is a documentary film that follows three characters from the King’s Cross Steelers, who are also known as the world’s first gay rugby club.
The film begins where we are introduced to Australian Reporter, Eammon Ashton-Atkinson who introduces himself and informs the audience that when he was embarrassingly outed as being gay in high school, he was constantly bullied. But when he played for his rugby team, he wasn’t made fun of and was looked upon as a fellow player.
Around the same time in the UK, the world’s first gay rugby club was formed, but it wasn’t smooth sailing, as most of the straight clubs didn’t want to play them. However, slowly other gay rugby teams formed which culminated in the Bingham Cup. Despite being the first gay rugby club, the King’s Cross Steelers have never won the cup, so on the road to attempting to win their first Bingham Cup, we are introduced to three key figures from the club; the team’s female coach Nic who struggling with misogyny in sport, Simon who has suffered depression since having a bad experience when he came out to his best friend, and Andrew who also performs as a drag queen when he isn’t playing rugby.
I feel that I should mention that Steelers isn’t necessarily a sports documentary per se but rather a film that about finding your own identity and a place where you belong. It is interesting to hear the different experiences and hardships that the people in the film have gone through, yet they have found solace by being part of a rugby club that also helps them to be themselves, which I found inspiring. The film can also be heartbreaking when you find out about the tough times that the individuals have been through, as well as extremely heartwarming by showcasing just how happy these individuals are when they are within their accepting community and are playing rugby.
The film is presented in a way that it crosses between each individual being interviewed telling their own story while also showing photographs of them throughout the years, as well as showing footage of the rugby team training, getting ready to play a game of rugby, or just goofing off in front of the camera showing the fun side of the team.
Steelers is an inspiring documentary film that is about being true to yourself and finding your place in this world and overcoming the many obstacles that life often throws at you.
Steelers will be available to rent or buy from the 7th of July 2021 on Apple TV, Google Play and Amazon Prime Video.