WIMMERA primary school students had a chance to learn from some of their AFL heroes at Horsham City Oval on Tuesday.
Players from the Essendon Football Club including captain Dyson Heppell and fan-favourite Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti came to town to run clinics with groups of lucky students in the afternoon.
Heppell said it was great to be in Horsham.
“I’ve seen some great skills and the kids are having a ball,” he said. “It’s great to get out to the country regions.”
Heppell said he loved when AFL players came to Leongatha when he was growing up.
“The country areas don’t get a lot of access to professional athletes and AFL players so to be able to pop out here and say g’day is pretty special,” he said.
Plans for morning clinics had to be cancelled after heavy fog in Melbourne meant the players could not fly out on schedule.
Instead Heppell, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Travis Colyer, Connor McKenna, Dylan Clarke and Ben McNiece took the chance to make a whirlwind visit to schools in the Wimmera.
Players visited Horsham’s St Brigid’s College, Horsham Primary School, Horsham College and Horsham West Primary School before they converged on City Oval in the early afternoon.
More than 300 students from Horsham’s Ss Michael and John’s Primary School, Horsham West Primary School, Laharum Primary School and Horsham Special School were waiting for their arrival.
The students were broken into eight group and rotated through various kicking, handballing, marking and tackling stations manned by the visiting players with assistance from St Brigid’s College students.
AFL Wimmera-Mallee football development manager Jason Muldoon said it was always good to be able to bring top players to the Wimmera.
“It’s a great opportunity for these kids to see some elite players up close,” he said.
The Essendon visit follows visits from Collingwood players to Ararat earlier in the season and Western Bulldogs players to Horsham for a community camp in February.