AFL premiers trophy on show
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
COFFS Harbour has been announced as the first town in the state to be given a chance to share in the excitement of the Sydney Swans bringing the AFL Premiership Cup to NSW.
On November 14, the Coffs Coast International Stadium will be awash with red and white as the cup and a group of five Swans' premiership heroes allow AFL fans in the area the chance to pay homage to the club winning it's first premiership in 72 years.
The statewide tour is being presented by the Sydney Swans in conjunction with the NSW Government and the AFL.
NSW Premier Morris Iemma says that the tour is a great way for regional NSW to be part of the win.
"Now footy fans all over NSW will be able to share in the sense of excitement and history when the famed AFL Premiership Cup tours NSW," he added.
"The Swans are not just Sydney's team - the Red and White belong to all of NSW."
Coffs Harbour actually played a very large part in the success that the Swans have enjoyed over the past three years.
"The Swans acknowledge that a leadership camp they held in Coffs Harbour prior to the 2003 season was a landmark moment in their development into a premiership team," explained the manager of the Coffs Harbour Sports Unit, Ben Payne.
"The club nominated Coffs Harbour as a place to visit on this tour in recognition of that event."
Payne knows the Premiership Cup tour is a coup for his hard working team but the Sports Unit will be trying to get further Swans involvement by offering opportunities for the club to participate in community camps and trial games in the future.
Northern NSW's AFL Development Manager Chris McKinley has also organised a host of activities for the younger AFL fans who attend.
Not only will everyone in attendance get the opportunity to rub shoulders with the players and have autographs signed but the juniors can also participate in a clinic run by the development team prior to the arrival of the Swans players at 10:30.
There will be no shortage of pomp and ceremony for the premiership heroes who are still buoyed by their thrilling four point victory over the West Coast Eagles nearly six weeks ago.
Many Swans fans will be hoping it's not another 72 years before they can see the prized trophy again.