- Friday 06 February 2015
Wonderful weather, fantastic facilities and THOSE beautiful beaches. It’s a combination that looks likely to keep AFL clubs coming back to the Sunshine Coast for many pre-seasons to come.
The Western Bulldogs wound up their training camp today and headed home with their team photo printed on a surfboard and bags full of fond experiences from their nine days on the Coast.
“We noticed in Melbourne it was 14 degrees and raining. It’s nice to be on the Sunshine Coast. We had a good bit of heat for the guys and I think they responded well,” Bulldogs High Performance Manager Justin Cordy said.
The Bulldogs were one of three AFL clubs to accept an invitation from Sunshine Coast Council to head north and spend a portion of their pre-season at the Maroochydore Multi-Sports Facility.
Defending premiers Hawthorn hit the Coast in early December.
It was their fourth consecutive pre-season sojourn here and star midfielder Sam Mitchell said there were good reasons why the club kept coming back.
“Really good training facilities and the climate is great,” Sam said.
The Melbourne Demons also found heaven on the Sunshine Coast. The club’s High Performance Manager Dave Mission said our region ticked all the right boxes during their 11-day training camp.
“I think it’s been outstanding,from the facilities that have been made available to us, right through to the weather conditions, which were what we were looking for,” Dave said.
“The place we stayed at was great but probably the most important thing was the ability to get the work done that was needed.
"We banged about 80km into the boys in about 10 days which was really solid and exactly what we wanted – in fact it was probably more than we expected.”
Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said the presence of major sporting clubs on coast would only strengthen its reputation as Australia’s major regional sporting capital.
“To have three more AFL clubs spend a combined total of more than a month here is absolutely tremendous from a sporting and business perspective,” Cr O'Pray said.
“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 are enormous.
“Melbourne’s coach Paul Roos also volunteered his time to be part of a sportsman’s lunch at the Alex Surf Club last week and his presence was an enormous boost to the event that helped raise funds for the Maroochydore AFL Club.
“We also saw scores of supporters of these AFL clubs fly here from all corners of the country to watch their teams train and enjoy a holiday on the Sunshine Coast at the same time.”
Sunshine Coast Destination Limited CEO Simon Ambrose said ensuring future visits from high profile interstate sporting clubs was an important goal.
“Melbourne and Sydney are our two most important interstate markets so having AFL teams come here helps to put the spotlight on the Sunshine Coast and it also helps to strengthen the development of the sport here,” Mr Ambrose said.