- Wednesday 13 January 2016
They are ‘the pride of Brisbane town’ and the Lions are also proving highly popular on the Sunshine Coast during their summer training camp this week.
Hundreds of fans turned up to watch the club go through pre-season paces during a three-hour open training session today, while Lions players and coaches also treated scores of local kids to a junior super clinic and autograph signing session.
The three-time AFL premiers are the fifth club to visit the Sunshine Coast since late November, with St Kilda, Hawthorn, Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney also choosing our region to fine tune their pre-season preparations. The Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs will also conduct pre-season camps here later this month.
Lions captain Tom Rockliff said the Sunshine Coast was a terrific training location for the club.
“The Coast is a great spot for us and it always has been. The boys love coming up here and we’ve found it to be very valuable to not only engage with the community but the benefits of training on the sunshine Coast have been great as well,” he said.
“We get a lot of support from here which is important to the Football Club and the players as well. We want to continue to build that relationship.”
Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said strong relationships between council and southern AFL clubs had convinced more than ever to head north.
“Until recently, a lot of AFL clubs were opting to go overseas for pre-season camps but the Sunshine Coast is quickly building a reputation as a location of choice for these elite teams and their players,” he said.
“We’re playing host to more than a third of AFL clubs during this pre-season period which is fantastic for our community from the diehard footy fans to our local business owners.
“Each of these clubs travel up here with around 75 players, coaches, trainers and officials and they’re all staying in our hotels, buying food from local shops, training in local gyms, playing golf and engaging with the local community so the economic, sporting and social benefits for our region are enormous.”
The Melbourne Football Club will be the next to arrive on the Sunshine Coast. They’ll hold an open training session this Saturday, January 16 at the Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex on Fishermans Rd from 9am to noon.
The Western Bulldogs will head to the Sunshine Coast later this month and will hold an open training session on Sunday January 31 (session times and details will be advised closer to the date).