Lions hope to grow pride

AFL stars en­cour­age kids to play

Gatton Star - - SPORT - Do­minic El­some do­minic.el­[email protected]­ton­

AFL: Two of the AFL’S ris­ing tal­ents have made their way to Lock­yer Val­ley this week, hop­ing to boost the pro­file of aussie rules in the rug­by­mad re­gion.

Bris­bane Lions play­ers Lachie Neale and James Mad­den spent Mon­day and Tues­day in the re­gion as part of the AFL Com­mu­nity Camps pro­gram.

The pair vis­ited schools in the Gat­ton and Lai­d­ley area and hosted a clinic for young­sters at Cahill Park.

Lions play­ers spent the week trekking around the state to en­cour­age young­sters to give the game a try.

Neale said the events were an im­por­tant way of con­nect­ing with the com­mu­nity.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for all of the Bris­bane Lions play­ers to come out and get in­volved and in­ter­act with some of the kids,” Neale said.

With Gat­ton a lit­tle fur­ther than the pair was used to trav­el­ling, he said it was a good op­por­tu­nity to build AFL’S pres­ence in the re­gion.

“To come out and ex­pe­ri­ence out here and get the kids to ex­pe­ri­ence some AFL – it’s great ex­po­sure for ev­ery­one,” he said.

The re­sponse from the chil­dren with whom the pair had spent time had been very pos­i­tive, Neale said.

“The kids have been fan­tas­tic,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously be­ing a rugby dom­i­nated state you’re not really sure how they’re go­ing to re­spond but ev­ery­one’s been will­ing to have a go and really in­ter­ac­tive.”

Neale said get­ting kids in­volved with the game at a grass­roots level was a valu­able part of the AFL’S com­mu­nity en­gage­ment.

“It’s some­thing I think the AFL does really well and hope­fully it brings more kids into the game, es­pe­cially in Queens­land,” he said.

“It’s cru­cial for us to get out and in­volve our­selves in the com­mu­nity be­ing a rugby state here.”

Dar­ling Downs AFL Queens­land re­gional man­ager Jeff Neu­mann said it was ex­cit­ing to bring the Bris­bane Lions to the lo­cal fans in Gat­ton.

“AFL Com­mu­nity Camps are the per­fect plat­form for fans, no mat­ter where they live, to ac­cess the game and their favourite play­ers,” Neu­mann said.

“AFL Com­mu­nity Camps are an im­por­tant way for us to en­cour­age younger play­ers to get in­volved in our game.

“That can be through NAB AFL Aus­kick, Ju­nior Foot­ball, com­mu­nity foot­ball and school pro­grams.”


RIS­ING STARS: Bris­bane Lions play­ers Lachie Neale and James Mad­den have been pro­mot­ing AFL in the re­gion this week as part of the AFL’S Com­mu­nity Camps pro­gram.

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