SERIOUS FUN: Darcy Drinkwater, Lachie Cottrill and Angus Killingbeck, Ballina Bombers players, enjoying the day at the AFL sign-on day at Byron Bay’s sport centre.
SERIOUS FUN: Darcy Drinkwater, Lachie Cottrill and Angus Killingbeck, Ballina Bombers players, enjoying the day at the AFL sign-on day at Byron Bay’s sport centre. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

AFL fans flock to sign-up for season and to meet Suns

WHATEVER you do on the Aussie Rules pitch this season, don't mess with Angus Killingbeck.

The 11-year-old was among scores of the region's children rubbing shoulders with some of the sport's superstars and showing their skills at the AFL North Coast Junior Sign-On Day.

Geelong Cats-loving Angus, of Ballina's Emmanuel Anglican College, took up Aussie Rules about two years ago and said he liked its rough-and-tumble nature.

"I love it when I get to shoulder charge another player," the Ballina Bombers junior said.

"I get a bit of a sense of accomplishment when I knock them down. I don't get scared about getting hurt. It's part of the game.

"Go the Bombers."

Several players from the Gold Coast Suns AFL side attended Saturday's event at the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex.

Squad members including highly decorated Nathan Bock and Suns' new Lennox Head recruit Jarred Ellis autographs and mingled with children and supporters.

Other fun and games, including kicking contests and passing drills, also took place.

The day aimed to help promote Aussie Rules, which is fast growing in popularity in the region.

Ballina's Darcy Drinkwater (11) was another of the children enjoying the event's "cool" activities.

The Ballina Bombers junior took up the sport about three years ago and said he had enjoyed trying something different.

"Everyone seemed to play soccer or rugby league," Darcy, of Ballina's Southern Cross K-12 School said. "I thought I'd give AFL a try.

"When I kick goals I do high-fives with my mates, which is good. I like tackling as well. "It's fun, so I'm going to stick at it."


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