Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Essendon footballers to visit Benalla

Benalla is gearing up to host Essendon Football Club next week for its annual community camp.

January 30, 2014 4:11am

Football season will begin early in Benalla when Essendon Football Club arrives next week for a community camp.

About 400 children and a variety of community groups will have access to the players and coaching staff during the visit, which will include a civic reception, training sessions with local clubs, a ‘‘Dinner with the Stars’’, and the super-clinic at Benalla Showgrounds.

‘‘There is no shortage of people who love their football in Benalla Rural City,’’ Benalla Rural City Mayor Barbara Alexander said.

‘‘This will be a great opportunity for many people to meet their sporting heroes. For the young people who love football, it will be quite an experience, and I imagine many of them will be inspired by being able to get advice and encouragement from sportspeople who are at the top of their field.’’

WorkSafe AFL Victoria development manager Zac Guilfoyle said the objective of the visit — part of the AFL’s Australia Post Community Camp initiative — was to make the AFL game and its players more accessible to the community.

‘‘Forming a connection between regional areas, AFL clubs and players is vital to the success of the game at all levels,’’ Mr Guilfoyle said.

‘‘The Benalla area has experienced a decline in player participation in recent years, and we hope to kick-start the 2014 season with this visit.’’

Tickets for the official function on Tuesday, February 4 are available from the Lakeside Community Centre or phone 0499771437.Tuesday, February 4

Noon — Civic Reception, Benalla Art Gallery.

2.15pm — Community visits: FCJ College; Benalla P-12 College; St Joseph’s Primary School; Australia Post Bridge St.

5.30pm — Local club training: Benalla All Blacks, Friendlies Oval; Benalla Saints, Benalla Showgrounds; Goorambat and District, Arundel St Oval.

7pm — Official function at Lakeside Community Centre.Wednesday, February 5

10am — Training session, Friendlies Oval, Nunn St.

12.45pm — Superclinic, Benalla Showgrounds.

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