Bombs away

AFL powerhouse the Essendon Football Club will land in the Tweed region early next year before making their first Queensland appearance for nearly two years. The Bombers have benefited greatly since the AFL announced a major overhaul to its NAB pre-season fixture and community camp schedule. Essendon, who have won 16 AFL/VFL premierships, will conduct its community camp on the Gold Coast and in northern NSW between February 4 and 7. The camp was originally scheduled to be held in Bairnsdale, but that destination has been flicked as the AFL gets tough with the Kangaroos. The Roos were scheduled to attend, but due to their preference to stay in Victoria have now been sent to Bairnsdale in place of the Bombers. Essendon's round one NAB Cup match against the Western Bulldogs in Darwin has also been changed. The Bombers will now play Brisbane at Carrara on Saturday, February 16th. The last time Essendon played in Brisbane was Round 2 of the 2006 season when it suffered an 18-point loss to the Lions at the Gabba. Essendon managing director Peter Jackson said the Bombers were keen to come to the Gold Coast and had already made initial investigations into the venture. "When the 2008 fixture came out we spoke to the AFL about the idea of doing a mid-season camp on the Gold Coast in 2008," Jackson said. "With fixturing the way it has been in recent seasons we have not been in Queensland for two years and we weren't scheduled to play there in 2008 either. We wanted to explore ways of addressing that situation. "When the AFL came to us with this idea we saw it as a good opportunity for us to engage with our supporters in Queensland and our affiliate club the Redland Bombers. "We will be looking for opportunities during the upcoming season to get some of our players down to Bairnsdale and engage with supporters in that area. We spent some time in Gippsland last season as part of our community programs and we will look for another opportunity next season." In announcing the changes, AFL Chief Broadcasting and Commercial Officer Gillon McLachlan said it was to enable the AFL to include a greater number of AFL teams in its matches on the Gold Coast during the 2008 season.



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