RECRUITMENT DRIVE: Brisbane Lions to visit 17 Coast schools
AFL: The Fraser Coast's three AFL clubs are hoping a visit by sporting heroes in the next fortnight will boost junior numbers during the league's pre-season.
Five Brisbane Lions players and an assistant coach will spend a whirlwind two days in the region visiting 17 schools from Maryborough to Hervey Bay on February 11 and 12.
Queensland AFL Fraser Coast development co-ordinator Kieron Hyndman said the annual regional tour would happen simultaneously with centres like Bundaberg and Gympie.
"The players will host hour sessions at schools as well as open training sessions with the local clubs," he said.
"While it is promotion for one of our Queensland teams, the aim of the sessions are to engage kids with the sport and provide information on the clubs in their areas.
"We hope to boost local player numbers but really, if everyone walks away with a smile then our job is done."
AFL Queensland Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay regional manager Paul Tresise said it was an opportunity to showcase the game.
"We encourage juniors to pick up the game because it's all about having fun, fitness, team work, learning coordination and the opportunity to be put on development pathways," he said.
"We have an emphasis on female footy and it is the fastest growing section of our sport."
Bay Power AFL club's senior coach Kristian Walton said the club's effort to rebuild their under-16s 2017 premier-winning side would be helped by the elite athletes whose identities are yet to be revealed.
"We are looking for another five to 10 players for our under 16s but in all age groups, the more players the better. We do see results with these kinds of programs," he said.
"We are finding it is a whole new family thing, like the children play under 8s and then their mums join the ladies team and the husband takes to the field with the seniors."
Maryborough Bears juniors' coach and vice president Jason "Jars" O'Brien hoped the program would recruit not just new players but also "old players who stopped (a) year or two (to) pull boots on again".
"We are going to use it as a huge positive drive for our club," he said.
"Our club was named after the Brisbane Bears back in the day and it's great to have them in the area.
"We can never have enough players."
Hervey Bay Bombers junior president Ben Lethborg said while the club had traditionally good numbers, new players were always encouraged to come and join the "family atmosphere".
"We have a fantastic family connection with quality coaching."
For training times and more information visit each club's Facebook page.