Thursday, February 16 2017 @ 09:35 am ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
One old adage often used in football is “build it and they will come” – a reference to starting clubs and watching the interest and involvement grow. Doesn’t always work, but there are many cases of exactly that situation occurring. An equally valid saying is “don’t wait for the people to come to you, go to the people”. And that is exactly what the Sheffield Thunder team in the AFLCNE is doing as they take their product on the road.
After contesting the grand final just two seasons ago, the Thunder had a tougher run in 2016. A range of hiccups, not the least player numbers, conspired to derail their season. To address this for 2017, the club’s think-tank came up with the idea of travelling the region to spark interest in the game, promote the club and with luck unearth some new talent to re-establish the Thunder near the upper echelons of the competition ladder.
As stated on the club’s Facebook page, “in preparation for the 2017 season the Thunder will be touring different parks and training venues over the weekends in the lead up to AFL CNE Round 1. Our aim is to take the Aussie Rules experience outside of Sheffield and to more locations across South Yorkshire to showcase our great sport!”
“We will be out in new areas of Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster. If you fancy it, keep an eye out for a date and venue near you!”
The idea is not new, but it has been effective for clubs across the world time and time again. The Thunder road trip certainly has the potential to have positive impacts for the whole game and competition, not solely the club – though Sheffield Thunder certainly deserves any benefits they receive from this initiative.
A complete list of dates and venues will be released shortly and promoted to get as many new and curious faces to venues. It will certainly be very interesting to see how the Sheffield Thunder’s project takes off as they embark on their own “Thunder” Road (with thanks to Bruce Springsteen).