Dragons ready to fire up in all abil­i­ties foot­ball league

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT - DAMIEN RACTLIFFE

GEE­LONG will field its first all abil­i­ties foot­ball team on Sun­day week, af­ter brand­ing them­selves the Dragons.

Bell Park Foot­ball Club will host the club, in­clud­ing weekly train­ing ses­sions in prepa­ra­tion for the six monthly games that will be held car­ni­val style.

Gee­long stars Zac Smith and Mark Bli­cavs helped lead train­ing on Mon­day night.

“I think hav­ing this op­por­tu­nity for mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, who might not fit into the main­stream en­vi­ron­ment, it’s been fan­tas­tic,” Leisure Net­works pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor Tim Downes said.

“The FIDA com­pe­ti­tion it­self has prob­a­bly been go­ing for 20 years and we sort of saw the need for some­thing here in Gee­long, hence we’ve come up with the idea of the Gee­long Dragons.

“A lot can play Aus­kick, but once it be­comes main­stream there’s prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit of a gap, so now there’s a bit more of an even play­ing field with play­ers of sim­i­lar abil­i­ties.

“It’s been great. It’s some­thing that’s been very much needed for Gee­long.”

Downes said a num­ber of part­ners had helped to get a team off the ground.

“A lot has to do with the other dis­abil­ity ser­vice providers here in Gee­long, the spe­cial schools, AFL Bar­won’s net­work, the net­work we have at Leisure Net­works and I think it’s just word of mouth through the com­mu­nity of other sports we have,” he said.

“There are def­i­nitely a lot of pos­i­tives (about the pro­gram). Some­times there are a few chal­lenges with di­rec­tion and giv­ing some in­struc­tion as well, but most of the time they just want to come out here and have a kick.”

Jai Smith will coach the side, which caters for play­ers 14 and older.

Pic­ture: MARK WIL­SON

CATS AMONG DRAGONS: Gee­long play­ers Zac Smith and Mark Bli­cavs take Gee­long’s first all abil­i­ties foot­ball team through its paces at train­ing.

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