When a kid comes home and says “Mum, can I play AFL footy after school?” you’d expect it to hear in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, not in the Eastern Suburbs of London. But that’s just what is happening out in Bromley-by-Bow in the true East End of London.
AFL London and Marner Primary School have adopted an after school programme aimed at not only getting kids active but also teaching them the basics of Australia’s national game – Aussie Rules.
AFL London General Manager Gavin Mahoney outlined that the kids were focussing on fun initiatives to learn the basic skills of the game.
“The students have participated in a range of activities that have included the basic skills of Aussie Rules; kicking, hand passing, marking and bouncing,” he said.
“These skills have been practiced through fun games, which the kid have enjoyed and has now moved on to proper games to provide the full Aussie Rules experience.”
The school has been running the programme since the beginning of the year, where both students and coaches braved the exceptionally wintery conditions that London has endured. Some might say it was perfect footy weather for the kids to learn the game.
All participants were completely new to the game but the participation level has grown steadily, which is testament to both the coaching provided and the fun that the kids are having.
The huge success of the Marner Primary School programme has encouraged other schools to become part of the Aussie Rules family. It is expected that over the spring and summer months, a number of other British schools will implement the programme.