Lismore City News
Saturday, 2 December 2023

Premiership-winning coach and Norm Smith medallist are coming to town

Mitchell Craig
Updated April 5 2022 - 11:29am, first published April 1 2022 - 2:30pm
BIG NAME: Premiership-winning Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is coming to Lismore next week.
BIG NAME: Premiership-winning Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is coming to Lismore next week.

LISMORE will host premiership-winning AFL coach Alastair Clarkson and former Sydney Swans star Ryan O'Keefe next week.

The pair will be in town as part of a visit to boost spirits after the region was hit by a second major flood.

They will be special guests of the Lismore Swans who are going on a recruitment drive ahead of the AFL North Coast season.

Clarkson, a four-time Premiership winning coach with Hawthorn, and O'Keefe, two-time Premiership player with the Sydney Swans and Norm Smith Medallist in 2012, will present the Lismore Swans with equipment and clothing donated by the Sydney Swans and GWS Giants.

They will also attend training sessions for Lismore's junior and senior sides at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah.

Clarkson coached 390 games between 2005-2021 while O'Keefe was a standout when the Swans broke a 72-year premiership drought in 2005.

Both Clarkson and O'Keefe hope their presence will spur players across all teams in the region to come to Lismore and spark interest ahead of the AFL North Coast's seniors and AFL Northern Rivers' juniors season.

Lismore Swans president, Ken McPherson, said it would provide a boost for players in the region.

"Everyone knows our region has had a terrible run in the last month," McPherson said.

"The floods have affected everyone at our club in some way and we have all been shaken up a bit.

"To have two greats of the game visit Lismore and bring equipment with them donated by the AFL clubs will help us get back on our feet."

"I know players young and old are excited at the prospect of meeting Clarko and O'Keefe and I hope we get a massive turnout and training to show how much our Swans love footy and are resilient in the face of adversity."

Clarkson is the AFL's Community Coaching Ambassador and Ryan O'Keefe works for AFL NSW/ACT as its Coaching Development and Education Lead.

All current and potential players are invited to attend the sessions at Hepburn Park, with the juniors kicking off at 4pm and the seniors beginning at 6pm.

Everyone is welcome to join the pair after training at the Lismore Workers Sports Club for a question and answer session catered by AFL North Coast and the Lismore Swans.

AFL North Coast seniors are set start from April 23 while the juniors will return to the field in May.

The Swans senior men and women's teams qualified foe the finals last year before the season was scrapped due to COVID-19.

Mitchell Craig

Mitchell Craig

Senior journalist

Australian Community Media journalist with over 10 years' experience in providing quality news and sport stories.