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Saturday, April 21 2018 @ 05:39 am ACST

Former Bombers Gain Lions’ Roar

After having finished their 2016/17 season with the Palmerston Magpies, former Essendon players, Courtenay Dempsey and Alwyn Davey, have answered the call to assist the Cairns City Lions in the AFL Cairns competition. Both will line up for the Lions this weekend in the Lions’ round one fixture.

For Dempsey, the chance to play again in the AFL Cairns competition is a homecoming. A Cairns boy, born in Mt Isa and growing up in Cairns’ southern suburbs, Courtenay played junior football with the Cairns Hawks. Dempsey’s precocious talents were identified early on and his pathway took him via the Kenmore Bears club in Brisbane before being drafted by Essendon in 2005 where he went on to play 133 AFL games as a Bomber.

(Picture - Courtenay Dempsey - Channel 7)

(Picture - Alwyn Davey)

Alwyn Davey is originally from Darwin, played junior footy in the northern city before heading south to play in the SANFL for South Adelaide. He was also drafted by Essendon, a year after Dempsey, at the 2006 national draft and went on to play 100 games for the Bombers as a damaging goal sneak with great defensive pressure.

Both are short-term marquee players, enlisted by the Cairns City Lions to both lift the club on the field for their brief time and to help publicise the club in a bid to recruit new Lions.

The club itself has endured some hard times in recent seasons and spent much the past off season wondering what the future would bring. At times the future looked bleak and the real prospect of folding loomed briefly. But an agreement between AFL Cairns, the Lions and other clubs sees them using the 2017 season to rebuild on and off the field. For this season the club will field only a senior team in the AFL Cairns competition, whilst league newcomers – Pyramid Power – will slot into the Lion’s vacated reserve grade fixture position and assist the Lions where possible as the season progresses.

The addition of Dempsey and Davey will help attract crowds to the Lions’ home ground at Holloways Beach Sporting Complex on the Cairns’ northern beaches. The pair are also highly skilled, with almost 250 games of AFL experience behind them which will be used to raise the bar for fellow Lions. Dempsey is also conducting a coaching clinic for Lion juniors whilst with the club, something the kids won’t forget in a hurry.

For Dempsey, the chance to play in his childhood city beckons. For Davey, the chance to play footy for fun after being embroiled in Essendon’s recent troubles will be a great tonic. For the Lions, a new light on the horizon, and for footy in Cairns – another opportunity to have talent of the highest level help grow the game locally.

Picture: Courtenay, Alwyn and author between matches today

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