The muscles are all fully stretched, their kicking boots are firmly in place and they have now been presented the famous Map guernseys.
For the Tasmanian AFL inclusion team, they could not be any better prepared for the state’s second-ever national carnival.
The best state footballers with intellectual disabilities will showcase their unique playing abilities to the football community from July 24-30 on the Gold Coast.
“The 2017 team is looking a lot stronger than previous years,” New Horizons team coordinator Vanessa Wyllie said. “There’s been more experience under-pressure for most of the players.”
The Tasmanians warmed up for the carnival on Sunday against the Launceston All-Stars at the NTCA Ground.
The grudge match against the team’s mentors, Old Scotch stars, prominent politicians and councillors was a precursor to AFL Tasmania’s jumper presentation.
Tasmanian Football Council general manager Jackson Hills was full of praise for the Launceston-based New Horizons Club’s work in coordinating the playing squad that includes seven players from the North.
“In years gone by, our players participated in a composite team with Victoria,” Hills said, “but through a successful awareness campaign and a series of come and try days across the state, we have been able to get more players and supporters involved in this great initiative.”
Players will run football clinics in southern Queensland special schools and play an AFL nines match at Metricon Stadium in the Gold Coast and Richmond clash.