To Lismore with love
Two of the AFL’s all-time greats visited Lismore’s footy community this week to deliver equipment and apparel donations.
Four-time Premiership coach, Alastair Clarkson, accompanied Sydney Swans’ Norm Smith Medallist, Ryan O’Keefe, also met the local club, the Lismore Swans, and put juniors and seniors through their paces during a training session.
Earlier in the day, the pair delivered clothing, equipment and footballs donated by the Sydney Swans, the GIANTS and Sherrin to ensure local teams would have one less thing to worry about as they recommenced training ahead of the AFL North Coast (seniors) and AFL Northern Rivers (juniors) 2022 seasons.
During the visit, the Lismore Swans’ president, Ken McPherson, said Clarkson and O’Keefe’s presence would provide a boost for players in the region. “Everyone knows our region has had a terrible run in the last month,” said McPherson. “The floods have affected all people at our club in some way and we have been shaken up a bit. To have two greats of the game visit Lismore and bring equipment with them donated by the AFL clubs will help us get back on our feet.
“I know players young and old were excited to meet Clarko and O’Keefe and I think that was reflected at our training session. We showed how much our Swans love footy and are resilient in the face of adversity.”
Ryan O’Keefe said of the trip: “It’s great to come to Lismore and try to bring a ray of footy light into the community. What’s happened here is so devastating and I know sport will be a positive outlet for a lot of people. I’m pleased the AFL can play a small role in bringing back some normality.”
Clarkson is the AFL’s Community Football Coaching Ambassador and O’Keefe works for AFL NSW/ACT as its Coaching Development and Education Lead.
The equipment and apparel donated by the Sydney Swans, GIANTS and Sherrin will be distributed among three local clubs: Lismore Swans, Bellingen Bulldogs, Casino Lions.
AFL’s flood assistance
The AFL has distributed almost $70,000 to more than 25 flood affected clubs across NSW in 2022.
Additionally, NAB will provide $330,000 in grants of between $2,000 and $10,000 to clubs in NSW and Queensland which will be distributed by the AFL’s Community Relief Fund direct to clubs, and NAB AFL Auskick centres.
NAB will also pay the Auskick registration costs of children at flood affected football clubs nominated by the AFL.
In the immediate aftermath of the floods, the GIANTS drove equipment and clothing to Lismore for community footballers. The elite club also prepared 3,000 meals to be distributed across the Northern Rivers, donated 400-kilograms of meat, and two barbecues and gas bottles.
Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions have visited flood affected regions and in the Northern Rivers and south east Queensland.