Aussie rules gets a foothold in rugby league heartland
ONE of Australia's main winter codes of football is continuing to work hard to gain a foothold in the North Burnett, which is typically considered rugby league heartland, with the delivery of Auskick programs in Gayndah, Binjour, Boynewood, Mundubbera and Monto.
Gayndah State School's four-week Auskick program started last Thursday after school with a free come-and- try afternoon on the school oval.
AFL Queensland's Fraser Coast and North Burnett development officer Kieron Hyndman said the programs would help gauge local interest and hopefully find a few players to "become more invested" in the game.
"Fun is the most important thing," he said.
Thanks to the Federal Government's Sporting Schools program, Hyndman is also delivering free clinics during school hours at Gayndah, Boynewood and Binjour Plateau state schools, as well as St Joseph's Catholic Primary School and Burnett State College in Gayndah.
An Auskick program is also being delivered at Mundubbera State School during Friday lunch times.
An Auskick program in Monto will be delivered in Term 4.
Hyndman said, being that the nearest AFL clubs were at Bundaberg or the Fraser Coast, the sport relied on community-led initiatives, and to that extent he praised Gayndah State School's Leah Trott for her efforts in driving uptake.
"She's been a real champion for us," he said.
The only local Australian rules football played in the North Burnett is district trials for the under-12 age group, which was held at Mundubbera State School earlier this year.
Hyndman said that if local interest was to really take off, the league has had success elsewhere by establishing "satellite clubs".
For instance, Bundaberg Brothers Bulldogs could establish a satellite club in Gayndah or Mundubbera, wherein they train and play some games locally but travel once a month for a carnival-style competition in Bundaberg.
"But it needs community involvement," he said.
Hyndman said he had been aided in his mission to spread the Australian rules football gospel by the Brisbane Lions' stellar year, where they will play finals football for the first time in a decade.
"It makes life easier," he said.
Parents can still register their children for Auskick clinics in Gayndah and Mundubbera.
The $40 cost includes two or three sessions and a prize pack including a football, hat, and other swag.
Phone Kieron, 0430 519 439, or email kieron.hyndman @afl.com.au.