Little fans give a big welcome
by TANIA PHILLIPS
LEN PEAK Oval, Kirra, resembled a scene out of Gulliver's Travels yesterday with 18 players from the Melbourne AFL club taking part in a football clinic for Tweed and Southern Gold Coast students.
The Demons, including Aaron Davey and Byron Pickett, pictured, looked like giants as they towered over their young fans ? who quickly overcame the AFL stars with their eagerness.
The students from Coolangatta State School, Palm Beach Currumbin High and St James, Carool, Bilambil, Lindisfarne, Banora Point and St Joseph's public schools flocked to the Tweed-Coolan- gatta Blues' homeground for an hour or two of Auskick tuition ? and a chance to meet the Demons.
It was the side's last stop on its four-day visit to the lower Gold Coast ? but not its last visit to the Coast.
"We will be back here to take on Adelaide in round three at Carrara," tall forward Ben Hollands said after taking a break from the training session.
"We got to train twice up there ? it is a beautiful surface and we are looking forward to coming back."
Melbourne had come to the Coast to spread the word about AFL ? but after yesterday's skills session Hollands and his teammates found that, in some cases, they were preaching to the converted.
"I thought they'd have no idea ? but they are getting the grasp of things pretty well," the full-time AFL star and part-time podiatrist said laughing.
"Because of their rugby (league) background they are good at the tackling and physical stuff, but their skills are surprisingly good ? someone is obviously doing a good job up here."
The former Richmond and North Adelaide player is hoping this will be Melbourne's year ? but he is not getting carried away.
He said the side had some good young players who had been with the side for a couple of years and were "ready to blossom".
"But we are taking it week to week and not getting ahead of ourselves," he said.
Melbourne had a sensational start to last season only to fall away.
Hollands believes the Swans, St Kilda and West Coast will be the benchmark teams this year.