When the JLT Community Series rolls into town this weekend, it will be a lot more than just another preseason game between the Gold Coast SUNS and Essendon.
It will be an opportunity to give fans the experience of watching elite footy in their own backyard at Harrup Park – Mackay’s home of football.
It’s a massive boost for footy in the region.
The showcase game comes with plenty of development opportunities for central Queensland footy, including a free coaching masterclass hosted by seasoned AFL coaches John Worsfold and Rodney Eade on Saturday.
Fans will also be given the opportunity to watch club training sessions and attend autograph signings.
Community footy will be in the spotlight over the weekend as well.
Some local flavour will curtain raise Sunday’s game, with the Yeppoon Swans and the Mackay City Hawks contesting for the AFLQ Central Queensland Cup at 1:00pm.
Both teams were premiers in their respective regional competitions, giving fans plenty to be excited about.
The main event will get underway at 3:40pm on Sunday.
The SUNS copped a brutal blow to their 2017 campaign in last week’s JLT match when defender Sam Day dislocated his hip while chasing the footy.
He has been ruled out for the majority of the season.
Meanwhile Essendon could make up to four changes on Sunday after David Myers sustained a finger injury during the week.
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson officially launched the match earlier this month and believes the sporting event can help to further grow the region.
“The Harrup Park venue provides some tremendous facilities for this game and I am sure Mackay AFL and sporting fans will turn out to watch top-flight players in action,’’ Mayor Williamson said.
Ticket information: www.afl.com.au/tickets/jlt-community-series
By Josh Cheadle