RETURN: Brisbane Lions players will return to Hervey Bay in February. Harry Bensley,11, is pictured with Lion Josh McGuiness.
RETURN: Brisbane Lions players will return to Hervey Bay in February. Harry Bensley,11, is pictured with Lion Josh McGuiness. Alistair Brightman

Brisbane Lions to roar into Hervey Bay in 2016

AFL WIDE Bay representatives hope the Brisbane Lions visit in February will continue the recent trend of increased participation.

Up to 10 players will visit the Wide Bay in February as part of the AFL Community Camps program on February 23-24, with the players to be split between Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.

They will be two of the 60 towns to host more than 750 AFL players in camps across Australia, though one fact sets the Fraser Coast apart.

Hervey Bay was the biggest-growing area in terms of participation in AFL in 2015, and regional manager Dayne Frew said camps like these played a major role.

"I'd say it's on the back of those consistent appearances as it sets us up well at the start of the year,' Frew said.

"This will be the third year in a row we've had these visits in the Wide Bay. Maryborough got it this year and Hervey Bay and Bundy shared it the year before.

"We've noticed a big difference in Auskick and school team numbers."

AFL general manager game and market development Simon Lethlean said the Australia Post-sponsored program is the first major event on the 2016 AFL calendar, and allows players to give back to local communities.

"More than ever before, we are seeing players drafted from all corners of Australia so it's important that the next generation get the chance to meet their heroes and maybe even take part in an AFL super clinic run by them," Lethlean told www.afl.com.au.

"But overall, the most important people in our game are no doubt the fans and the camps are a chance for the clubs and players to recognise the support they receive first-hand."

While the players have not yet been confirmed each camp was tailored to the individual region.

They will include school and junior club visits and other community facilities.

AFL players visited more than 95,000 school students during the 2014-15 camps, a mark they are keen to beat in 2016.

AFL Community Camps is now in its 13th year.



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