By Sally McGlew
BASKERVILLE Oval was the scene of football royalty this week when a former Collingwood AFL player turned up to coach the Upper Swan’s Under 10s.
Current vice president of Collingwood and former star midfielder Paul Licuria played 182 games with the Magpies between 1999 and 2007.
He also played 10 matches with the Sydney Swans between 1997 and 1998.
Manager of the Upper Swan Under 10s team Ashley Brittain said Licuria offered to coach the team as a one off and give them some of his hard-won advice on playing aussie rules.
Her son Evan, 9, said he would not be wearing the signed Collingwood jumper, Licuria gave him, for the training day.
“No amount of black and white jumpers can turn Evan into a Pies supporter,” his mum said of the die-hard Eagles fan.
“But we are so grateful to Paul for his advice and support for the team, it’s such a lovely gesture on his part and means so much to the players at this age.”
Licuria showed the team, at their age level, the importance of having fun and teamwork.
“I’ve seen a lot of talented junior footballers who could have played AFL but just fell out of love with the game,” Licuria said.
He said he was keen to show them how to use their bodies to protect themselves against getting injured.
“Understanding the basics such as kicking techniques, handballing techniques, marking and ground balls is crucial.”
He said it was also important for kids to keep working on the fundamentals of the game.
“I see this as super important.
“The game has changed so much over the years and we continue to witness the importance of speed and skill.
“Today’s players really need to execute with accuracy and speed if they want to have long careers in the AFL.”