Pearce Hanley is an Australian rules footballer playing for the Gold Coast Football Club in Lismore ahead of the Sydney Swans and Gold Coast Suns game at Oakes Oval.
Pearce Hanley is an Australian rules footballer playing for the Gold Coast Football Club in Lismore ahead of the Sydney Swans and Gold Coast Suns game at Oakes Oval. Marc Stapelberg

Suns shine a light on future talent

Gold Coast Suns in town ahead of game: Jack Hombsch and Pearce Hanley in Lismore ahead of the Sydney Swans and Gold Coast Suns game at Oakes Oval.

AS anticipation builds ahead of the pre-season clash between the Gold Coast Suns and Sydney Swans on Sunday, Suns players visited Lismore yesterday in an effort to help more people fall in love with the game of AFL.

The visit was part of the Gold Coast team's Community Camp schedule, with students from St Carthage's Primary School the first to greet the players at a special assembly.

Suns players Jack Hombsch and Pearce Hanley were on hand to answer students' questions, which varied from what training is like for professional players, to what they eat and even what their favourite video game is.

Year 3 and 4 students then had the chance to get up close with the players in a special clinic, teaching participants basic AFL skills, such as hand-balling and kicking.

Mr Hanley said the main aim of the skills clinic was to allow the students to have fun.

"Obviously if they don't enjoy it they won't invest in it," he said.

"There's going to be some fun games, they might not necessarily know they're actually learning a skill, but they'll have a footy in their hand and having as much fun as possible."

Gold Coast Suns players Jack Hombsch and Pearce Hanley in Lismore ahead of the Sydney Swans and Gold Coast Suns game at Oakes Oval.
Gold Coast Suns players Jack Hombsch and Pearce Hanley in Lismore ahead of the Sydney Swans and Gold Coast Suns game at Oakes Oval. Marc Stapelberg

Mr Hombsch said the AFL camps offered clubs the chance to visit communities in their local area, including visiting schools and hosting clinics to improve club and community relationships.

"It really gives you the chance to be reminded of what it was like when you were a kid and how much fun it was when you were that age," he said.

"Also for me being new (to the club) and coming from South Australia, it's a good opportunity to visit towns that you didn't really know existed."

Mr Hanley agreed and said visiting Lismore was a good thing for the club itself.

"(The Northern River) is a big part of our area which we cover as a club, and is part of our academy zone," he said.

"To be out here before we play this weekend, and getting to encourage the kids to come along, obviously the more kids that get to go and enjoy the game the better.

"It's not often AFL gets to come down to Lismore. If they see us now, it might get them excited for the game this weekend, and maybe get them excited to join AFL."

Mr Hombsch and Mr Hanley were joined by fellow Suns players Josh Corbett, Corey Ellis and Will Brodie for a a Junior Superclinic at Oakes Oval yesterday afternoon.