Tuesday 1 March 2011

A special initiative by AFL Queensland to put a special price in place for the flood devastated Lockyer Valley has resulted in record numbers at one NAB AFL Auskick Centre.

Senior clubs around the Darling Downs have also vowed to beat the problems brought on by the December and January flooding.

The NAB AFL Auskick centre at Peace Lutheran Primary smashed the old Darling Downs participants record, which was set by Rangeville State School back in 2008 of 107 players.

Peace Lutheran reached 123 participants by the second week of the course, with many more expected to sign on.

AFLQ introduced the special price of $20 per participant in the flood-devastated region.

In return, each child received a NAB AFL Auskick green or pink footy, a green and blue or pink NAB AFL Auskick backpack, hat, waterbottle, footy pump, NAB AFL Auskick passport, and more. Those who were able to register and pay online received four passes to a Brisbane Lions game in 2011.

It was a valuable investment in the future considering the Lockyer Valley Demons, the Dalby Swans and the Warwick Redbacks all had their preparations for the upcoming AFL Darling Downs season thrown into turmoil by the flooding.

Despite the damage to their grounds and playing equipment, each club is upbeat and thankful the impact to their club is not any worse.

2011 was set to be a big year for the Warwick Redbacks, with the club poised to move to a new playing field at St Mark’s Oval.

However, their new ground borders the Condamine River and went under for the second time in four weeks in January.

As a result, the Redbacks could be homeless for the early part of 2011.

“We’ve been working on the oval at St Mark’s for a few years and we were pretty close to getting out to play on it,” Warwick Redbacks acting president Jason Wright told the Toowoomba Chronicle.

The Dalby Swans’ playing ground also went under in the town’s near-record floods, but president Tony Butcher is confident the oval will be ready when the season kicks off in March.

“…It’s in pretty good condition considering it was completely under water,” Butcher said.

Lockyer Valley Demons president Tony Bowers said his club faced an uphill battle to retain players after the flood.

“We could struggle with numbers, but we’re in a good position considering we’re the cheapest sport to play in the valley,” he said.

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