Hills kids enjoy the thrill of Optus Stadium.

Hills kids take centre stage at Optus half-time 

Eastern hills kids got the chance to kick the footy at Optus Stadium when the Fremantle Dockers and Adelaide Crows went to half-time.
April 4, 2024
Gera Kazakov

SEVEN eastern hills junior football clubs have taken their footy skills to the biggest stage in Perth – Optus Stadium. 

Just under 90 children from the junior clubs of Mount Helena, Chidlow, Darlington, Mundaring, Parkerville, Gidgegannup, and Upper Swan all graced the stage at half-time during Fremantle’s clash with the Adelaide Crows.  

Mount Helena Junior Football Club president Narelle Thredgold – who’s also the Swan Districts junior club delegate on the metro-central regional development council – said the children were all very excited before and after the experience. 

“One seven-year-old told me that he was so excited that he got to kick the ball on the same oval in the same goal square as the AFL players do in a real game, and he even got to hear people cheering for him,” she said.  

She said the umpires for the half-time games were also from the district, with two also hills residents. 

West Australian Football Commission Swans participation officer Josh Embry helped get the kids on the field at half-time, and said this was the first time the juniors from all the eastern hills clubs got to go out together for a half-time kick. 

“For any young footballer who has had the opportunity to play football at half- time of an AFL game – on the same field as AFL players do, in front of an enormous crowd – you will hear nothing but positivity and excitement,” he said. 

“It is ultimately an opportunity that drives young Auskick and little league footballers’ passion for football and is a core memory that these kids will cherish forever.”

Mr Embry said all the kids involved were overcome with the same emotion on the day – excitement. 

“Not just because they were playing football at half-time of an AFL game, but because they were playing alongside all their friends from neighbouring clubs,” he said. 

“I’ve never seen so much energy from a half-time group of people as what was displayed at the hills junior clubs, and this came down to the fact that everyone who attended knew each other.”  

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