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2018 Community Camp: Day 1 Wrap

Rhys Dickinson  February 14, 2018 8:30 AM

Lewis Jetta has some fun with a local at the West Coast Eagles Panel Night

Lewis Jetta has some fun with a local at the West Coast Eagles Panel Night

It was an early start for the majority of the West Coast Eagles squad, most rising before 6am to make the 2.5 hour drive to the South West for the club's 2018 AFL Community Camp.

While the likes of captain Shannon Hurn, Jamie Cripps, Nathan Vardy, Andrew Gaff, Kurt Mutimer and Will Schofield made their way to Collie, most of the players assigned to the South West component of this year's camp arrived in Busselton around 9.30am ready to embark on a long day filled with school visits, footy clinics and getting to know some of the club's most passionate regional fans.

Electric wingman Lewis Jetta, inside bull Dom Sheed and new midfield coach Sam Mitchell kick-started their day with a visit to Vasse Primary School. The trio fronted a packed undercover area and spoke about their journey to the AFL, plus the importance of keeping active and living a healthy lifestyle.

The children were particularly eager to hear from Jetta, who hails from Bunbury, just 40 minutes north of Vasse. He shared details of his junior footballing career and spoke about how hard it was to leave the South West to chase his AFL dream.

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Dom Sheed poses for a photo with Vasse Primary School's student prefects

Back closer to to the heart of Busselton, Jeremy McGovern, Scott Lycett, Tarir Bayok and development coach Mark Nicoski swung by Cornerstone Christian College for their second school visit of the day. McGovern spoke glowingly about growing up in Albany, while Bayok shared his story of venturing from South Sudan to Australia as an eight year old.

After showing the students a hype tape to get them excited about the upcoming season, the three players spent more than 30 minutes signing autographs for the children.

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Mark Nicoski, Jeremy McGovern, Tarir Bayok and Scott Lycett enjoyed their visit to Cornerston Christian College

Some players ventured further up the region's famous Caves Road to visit some schools in Dunsborough and Yallingup. Luke Shuey, Tom Barrass, Callan England and defensive coordinator Daniel Pratt made their way to Dunsborough Primary School, where they were welcomed by an enthusiatic cohort.

While Shuey met with the media before the assembly, the hardest hitting questions came from the students, who wanted to know how the players dealt with nerves, what a standard training week comprised and, of course, when Nic Naitanui would be returning to play.

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Callan England answers some tough questions at Dunsborough Primary School

The players also found time to get out and visit some of the club's valued sponsors, which also allowed them to touch base with the wider community. Various groups visited local Hungry Jack's, IGA and Telstra branches.

Brad Sheppard and rookie Ryan Burrows made their way to Busselton's Telstra shopfront, where they were greeted by some enthusiastic staff and passionate fans.

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Brad Sheppard and Ryan Burrows connect with some fans at the Telstra shop in Busselton

Later in the day the squad travelled to Sir Stewart Bovell Park, the home of the Busselton Magpies Football Club, to coordinate a free Footy Fun Clinic for children of the area. Inspired Eagles fans turned out in droves for the clinic, which featured fun activities and drills for all ages.

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Will Schofield helps a young fan navigate the 'scarecrow course'

While the players entertained the masses, some of West Coast's coaching staff imparted their vast knowledge of the game to some of the region's budding superstars. 

Naitanui Academy head coach Drew Petrie and defensive coordinator Daniel Pratt ran a women's clinic for some of Busselton's most promising AFLW prospects.

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Drew Petrie and Daniel Pratt with the women's training squad

At the same time, assistant coach Adrian Hickmott took a colts squad under his wing.

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Adrian Hickmott shares some pearls of wisdom with local colts players

The club capped off day one of its 2018 AFL Community Camp by hosting a Panel Night event at Busselton Football Club. Sam Mitchell got things rolling with an insightful Q&A session before Tom Barrass, Jeremy McGovern, Elliot Yeo and Luke Shuey took part in an entertaining panel hoted by West Coast media guru Steve Bandy.

The night also featured an auction, with all door and auction proceeds being donated back to local football clubs and programs.

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Tom Barrass entertains the crowd at West Coast's Panel Night event