Lions young guns helping AFL fire at Sunshine
THEY are the young, fresh-faced Brisbane Lions AFL talent passing on their dreams and basic skills-sets to the even younger Australian rules devotees.
These youngsters hold the future of their game as surely they handball a Sherrin footy.
And the best part about this special development clinic at St Thomas More Catholic Primary School at its lush Sunshine Beach oval is that these girls are star pupils.
“Put the ball in your hand nice and flat like a pancake,” said Lions tall timber, 204cm ruckman Oscar McInerney encouraged one of the eager group, Charle.
She delivers the goods as fellow 184 cm Lions midfielder Deven Robertson, a promising draft signing from Western Australia, gives his approval.
“You’re a star that’s perfect,” her AFL mentor comments before they all head off for a series of warm ups on a lush oval now sporting $2000 goalposts courtesy of AFL Queensland.
“We love coming out here to the Sunny Coast and teaching you all the footy,” McInerny said before the hour session with Year 5 and 6 girls moves on to the equally enthusiastic boys.
St Thomas More sports teacher Mike Winmill knows that these Lions 101 sessions are gold and a valuable investment in the future of the game, just like the new posts.
“It’s our first time using those (the goals),” Winmill said.
“The Lions do a community visit for schools that are registered … they played Port Adelaide at Burpengary on the weekend, so they’ve come up here.
“Oscar is a big ruck man. Deven was captain of Western Australia’s Under 18s last year and they’re doing a great job of bringing him on,” he said.
Winmill said the clinics are for “all the kids who want to play in the Queensland Schools Cup”.
“We used to have the Brisbane Lions Cup for schools this (northern) side of Brisbane and then they made it the whole state for all primary schools.
“We won the girls comp in 2017 and were runner-up in the state that year for the boys,” he said.
Winmill said St Thomas More won the Brisbane Lions Cup a couple of years before that.
“It was really the girls program that kicked us back off at our school,” he said.
“It’s all free for schools and they do a great job promoting it.”
Windmill said the first round is at the Noosa Tigers ground mid-year and the winner from the local rounds goes to the regional play-offs at Maroochydore, which is also the venue for the state carnival.
And when McInerney tells the girls “we’re not going to muck around, we’re going to get as much footy in as we can”, he really hit the mark.