Lions to kick off on Coast



BRISBANE Lions fans across the Coast have the chance to meet their AFL idols up close and personal next year during the Lions' four-day community camp.

From February 1-4, the community camp will include school visits, open training sessions, development activities and footy forums.

AFL chief executive officer Andrew Demetriou said the AFL's community camps, now entering their third year, not only kick-started the new season, but had become an important element of the game's development program.

"The camps provide players, umpires, coaches and administrators at the grassroots with a chance to learn from the game's best," Demetriou said. "Public functions, featuring the travelling teams, will also give regional football communities an opportunity to fundraise."

While a full agenda has yet to be decided, Lions' media production manager Ron McDonald said it was hoped to cover as much of the Gold Coast as possible stretching as far south as Kingscliff.

Players will pair off to conduct school visits, covering about 100 schools over the four days, he said. And fans won't be shortchanged with second string players. Every player on the Lions' list is expected to take part in the camp.

Kids aren't the only ones to benefit from the visit either, with a community forum planned to give everyone access to players and coaches, as well as a special dinner with the Lions, funds from which will be fed back into local Aussie Rules.

And if you had any doubts about the importance of Aussie Rules in this area, statistics show participation in the game in New South Wales and Queensland has grown by 87 percent over the past four years.



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