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Lions celebrate community footy

Community Footy Round This week the Brisbane Lions will be celebrating Community Footy, the clubs, the players and the volunteers that help make our game tick at the Grassroots level.

AFL Clubs across the country would not run successfully without the passion and commitment from their selfless volunteers. When the Brisbane Lions take on North Melbourne this Saturday afternoon they will be giving those volunteers the recognition they deserve in the Lions’ Community Footy Round.

At half-time this weekend the Lions will reveal their Community Club of the Year. Earlier this year the Lions reached out to grassroots clubs in their Queensland zone, which stretches from the Logan River in the South, north to Agnes Water and west past Toowoomba encouraging them to enter the competition.

The entrants have been narrowed down to five finalists, which will be revealed on throughout this week. The winner, judged by the Lions and AFL Queensland, will have best represented the Lions’ four values:

CARE – For their local Community

CONNECTED – To Brisbane Lions Community Programs

ELITE PERFORMANCE – Meeting AFLQ policies and procedures

CUTTING EDGE – New initiatives implemented to enhance member experience.

The winning club will receive a prize pack from the Brisbane Lions and partners; a volunteer to present the match day ball and nominated players to run out with the AFL team as the junior mascot.

At the weekend, 60-70 junior players in their club kit will form a guard of honour for the Lions before they take on the Kangaroos.

Earlier in the week, the Lions will show their support of grassroots clubs by wearing their junior club guernsey at training on Tuesday morning.

Lions defender Liam Dawson, an AFL Brisbane Junior Ambassador, played for the Redcliffe Football Club as a kid and said the opportunity to promote local footy clubs will inspire more people to get involved in the game.

“We’ll be able to recognise all the hard work they put in and for us to promote it is amazing,” he said.

Dawson has seen first-hand the contribution of volunteers.

Two large floods left the football club severely damaged though the willingness of volunteers to lend a helping hand brought it back to life.

“People volunteered and took days off work to come and help out and clean up the club,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for the volunteers, the club wouldn’t run as well as it does and that goes for any club in the country.”

Dawson said that to this day he still talks to past club Presidents and club staff.

“It was an amazing experience and I’ll never forget all my junior coaches and they effort they’ve put in to help me get to where I am today.”

As part of his ambassadorship role, attending club training sessions, Auskick clinics and presentation nights has provided Dawson an opportunity to give back to the game he loves.

“I get a lot of enjoyment out of it, just seeing the smiles on their faces,” he said.

“I still remember as a kid Michael Voss coming down to our training session and giving us advice.

“You always look up to them and think how cool it would be to be like them one day and they remember those interactions for the rest of their lives.” 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs