The Sydney Swans have hit the ground running in Coffs Harbour for their pre-season training and community camp.
With a little over a month to go until Opening Night, players headed straight to C.ex International Stadium for training, before a packed schedule of community engagement.
Day one on the far north coast saw players release a rehabilitated turtle back into the ocean at the Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, take part in educational activities at Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom school, enjoyed story time at the Harry Bailey Memorial Library, among a handful of other activities.
Following a day out in the community, it was back to the stadium for a Super clinic, which saw hundreds of local juniors show off their skills. North coast local Isaac Heeney admitted it’s been impressive to see the standard of AFL improve in the region.
“It’s amazing to come up here and look at the growth of the game,” said Heeney.
We’ve arrived! 📍— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) January 28, 2024
A very special Welcome to Country as we touch down in Coffs Harbour for our pre-season training and community camp 🪃
Stay tuned for plenty more content over the coming days 👀 🔥 #Bloods pic.twitter.com/bcE6xWkYKK
“I came up here in my second or third year and to compare it back then to now is amazing. I’m proud to be a New South Wales lad and watch the game grow in regions like that.”
“Back when I started there wasn’t too much opportunity to come and train with professional athletes, let alone a program like the QBE Sydney Swans Academy. It’s amazing to see so many kids, male and female, jumping on board and seeing it grow throughout the whole of NSW puts a smile on my face.”
For the players, it’s also an opportunity to strengthen their connection away from the field ahead of the 2024 season.
“The number one thing is team bonding and spending a lot of time together. We’ve got a tight-knit group and the boys love getting away. Secondly, it’s putting smiles on kids’ faces that probably don’t get to see a lot of professional sporting teams. It’s amazing to get a good turn out and grow the game.”
“The good thing this year is that we’ve had a lot of the boys on the track. Last year we had a few injuries, and we didn’t do too much match sim. We’ve got the majority out there and feeling really fit so it’s an exciting time and we look forward to the season starting.”