THE Wide Bay’s top football players will be looking to hit the back of the net and get the home crowd cheering when they take on the Brisbane Roar later this month.
The Brisbane Roar will visit the Fraser Coast for a training camp, community engagement sessions and exhibition match at the Sport and Recreation Precinct in Nikenbah on Saturday, 28 August.
The exhibition match, which will be free to watch, will feature the best players from the Wide Bay Premier League.
The two teams went head-to-head in 2019, with the Wide Bay select team leading 1-nil at half-time. The Brisbane Roar staged a dramatic comeback in the second half to win the match 4-1.
Some 3,000 spectators watched the match at the precinct two-years-ago.
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said it was exciting for the local sporting community that the state’s premier professional footballers would be visiting the region.
The visit is part of a three-year sponsorship agreement between the Roar and the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
Under the agreement, Cr Seymour said the Brisbane Roar had established a Skills Training Centre at the precinct to help develop talented footballers between Gympie and Mackay.
“This is a great opportunity for people who love football. Council is always looking for ways to bring more opportunities [for local residents] to see culture, art, music and sport at a higher level.
“Just because you live in a regional area doesn’t mean you should miss out on opportunities to see A League football. We want to ensure people have the opportunity to see the best here on the Fraser Coast,” Cr Seymour said.
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The mayor said there were many skilled and aspiring junior athletes on the Fraser Coast who deserve to see the best in action.
Cr Seymour said the fact that there were athletes from the Fraser Coast at the Tokyo Olympics and athletes who will compete in the Tokyo Paralympics in the coming weeks meant children growing up in regional Queensland can reach the highest level.
“We want young sportspeople to continue to be inspired and meet their idols,” he said.
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Meanwhile, Football Queensland’s General Manager for the Central Coast Region Andy Allan said it was important for the future of the game for young players in regional areas to see the likes of the Brisbane Roar in their own backyard.
“It’s extremely exciting to bring the Brisbane Roar to the Fraser Coast. Thirty local players will go into a training camp and from there a squad of 20 will be selected for the match against the Roar,” Mr Allan said.
He said there was a lot of excitement among the Wide Bay players and that they wanted to showcase the area and test the professionals.
“Adrenalin comes through the system when you play a team like the Brisbane Roar. They will want to do their best and do the region proud.”
He said having the Brisbane Roar coming to the Fraser Coast was hugely beneficial for local kids to come out and watch the best players.
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“It’s a monumental occasion for them. Most A League teams are located in the cities, so this is great.”
Meanwhile Division 4 Councillor Daniel Sanderson, a former football player himself, said it was a great opportunity for the region and the Wide Bay as a whole.
“This why we built this precinct, to have these players and events come here. It’s a great opportunity for everyone and a good pathway for aspiring players from the region to go forward and reach the highest level.”
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