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Fog keeps Demons at bay

There were some disappointed school children at Nathalia yesterday after fog stopped Melbourne Football Club players from visiting the town for a super clinic.

MATTHEW GALEA July 23, 2014 3:05am

Heavy fog cruelled Melbourne Football Club’s scheduled visit to Nathalia yesterday.

Eight Demons players, including Shepparton export Shannon Byrnes and captain Nathan Jones, were grounded at Moorabbin Airport by a thick layer of fog as they waited to fly to Shepparton ahead of a super clinic and secondary school visits.

AFL Victoria Country Goulburn Murray regional development manager Trevor Mellington said this was just the second time in his seven years a visit such as this was cancelled.

‘‘The boys were sitting at the airport when they were told the fog made it unsafe for them to fly,’’ Mellington said.

He said the decision to transport the players by air rather than road had been made to ensure they would have as much time as possible with students.

‘‘If it’s any more than two hours (drive) they’ll fly so we can maximise the time they’re available for,’’ he said.

Despite the absence of the Demons’ players, the scheduled super clinic for primary school students still took place at Nathalia Recreation Reserve yesterday morning.

St Mary of the Angels teacher Barry Norton, whose school was scheduled to host a visit of the players yesterday afternoon, said the cancellation was disappointing, but understood why the decision was made.

‘‘We actually had 21 students and three stage members flying off to Alice Springs for an Indigenous immersion trip and they were meant to fly out at 8.45am,’’ Norton said.

‘‘The reports said Tullamarine airport was fogged in until mid-morning, so I said to Trevor we understood because we were in the same boat.

‘‘It’s a bit disappointing because the kids were really excited, but that’s how the dice rolls.

‘‘We haven’t been given an amended date, but hopefully we can get one.’’

However, AFL Goulburn Murray general manager Martin Gleeson said it would be difficult to reorganise the visit.

‘‘It’s very difficult because these dates are scheduled a long way in advance,’’ Gleeson said.

‘‘Player programs are very strict and have specific requirements and, without having asked, it will be very difficult to schedule a new date.’’

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