Four Queensland grassroots football clubs are celebrating after winning exclusive opportunities to meet with AFL teams in the past week to get some tactical advice, club culture guidance and leadership mentoring thanks to the Fox Footy Club Rewards program.
The South Toowoomba Bombers, Bayside Bombers, Surfers Paradise and Labrador Football Clubs are a pick of just a handful of grassroots football clubs to have either attended a coaching seminar hosted by some of the AFL’s top coaching minds or received a personalized tour of a professional football club’s facilities, hosted by that AFL club’s coaching panel.
Fox Footy Club Rewards is an initiative created by Foxtel whereby local football clubs are recognised for the benefits they have delivered to their local communities, be it through fundraising for a charitable cause, broader community development initiatives or helping out a club member in a time of need.
National Ambassador for the program, and ex-St Kilda captain, Danny Frawley, believes it will be the opportunity of a lifetime for each club that is involved to experience the environment, housing the game’s most elite players.
“Local football clubs are the backbone of the community and it is refreshing to see an organisation like Foxtel genuinely investing in their growth and development,”Frawley said.
“By giving them behind the scenes access of a professional club’s facilities and AFL club coaching staff, the aim will be to have these visiting clubs come away with an understanding of the levels of professionalism, insight into the latest analysis that goes into the game and be witness to the buy-in to the culture that shapes the elite club environment.”
Already the Fox Footy Club Rewards program – a tiered system with Gold, Silver and Bronze award recipients – has seen Surfers Paradise and Labrador as two of 50 grassroots clubs granted the opportunity to fly to Melbourne and participate in a coaching seminar hosted by three of the most respected coaches in the AFL industry in Alistair Clarkson, Luke Beveridge and Damien Hardwick, as Bronze award winners.
Silver award recipients, South Toowoomba and Bayside Bombers just recently gained exclusive inner sanctum access to the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns Football Club training facilities led by both respective AFL club coaching staff and senior coaches.
Additionally, one lucky football club will soon also be announced as the “Fox Footy Community Club of the Year”, receiving a money can’t-buy-experience where 40 members of their team will be run through an elite training session with the coaching staff and current playing list.
Foxtel’s Executive Director of Sports and Content Partnerships, Ben Buckley, was pleased all successful clubs would be able to receive advice from three Finals bound coaches.
“We’re thrilled that these clubs are able to meet some of the biggest names in football as a result of telling their inspiring stories of assistance for their communities,” said Buckley.
“It’s important to recognise those clubs that go above and beyond to give back to their communities and both Foxtel and Fox Footy are proud to reward these clubs with what they hopefully see as a great opportunity to further grow their clubs.”
Surfers Paradise have just recently hosted an awareness day for motor neuron disease with high-profile MND sufferer Terry Daniher. Their resultant fundraiser, with the support of the Gold Coast community, ensured the football club was able to donate all ticket sales to the cause.
Labrador have been regular donators to the QLD Police safe houses program. The club this year had a child member attacked and mauled by a dog. The full junior footy club then attended this kid’s birthday party after release from hospital with our mascot to cheer the damaged six-year-old up with great results. This child has just recently made his way back to our club to join our youngsters in a Gold Coast-based NAB AUSKICK program.
The Bombers’ community work has involved holding a ‘Pink Game’ each year for the Kim Walter Choices Foundation. A few years ago one of the clubs’ members lost his wife to breast cancer, so each year the Bombers’ don the Pink Bombers jumpers and raise funds for this worthy charity. The Bayside Pink Bombers play against the Teal Barbarians who also had a member lose his wife through cervical cancer. These games will be played for many years to come raising funds for both foundations.
South Toowoomba Bombers
Each year South Toowoomba dedicates a round to raise funds for the Starlight Foundation who use the funds raised to give sick children a bright spot in what can often be a trying time. Last year the club raised over $5000 dollars, estimates of funds raised from this year’s Starlight Day have the club doubling that figure. The Bombers say that being able to hand that cheque over each year makes any on field success the club has pale into insignificance.