Ronnie puts stars in their eyes

Ronnie puts stars in their eyes

ALL SMILES: Geelong footballer Ronnie Burns with students from Mount Allan school in the Northern Territory. Photo: GEELONG ADVERTISER  
Friday, June 7

GEELONG'S Ronnie Burns understood the excitement that showed on the faces of the 12 Aboriginal schoolkids sitting in the stands of Skilled Stadium at training last night.

From the remote indigenous community of Yuelamu, 280km northwest of Alice Springs, the Mount Allan students sat wide eyed, staring, if a little cold.

Burns remembers well the excitment generated by AFL players when they would visit remote communities when he was a kid.

``I was like these kids here when Essendon came up and we'd watch them train at Gardens Oval up in Darwin and I'd rock up to training sessions when they'd get up there,'' he said.

``I used to stare at them. I'd sit in the grandstand and watch and try and get close to the players and it was a big buzz for me.

``I remember Bomber Thompson was up there one year when I was a kid and now he's my coach.

``It's a big thing for them to come down here and see it live, to watch the blokes train out here.

``I know how these kids are feeling at the moment they'd be just buzzing,'' he said.

Accompanied by former Geelong teachers Clare and Michael Kinnane, the 12 students are spending a week in Geelong visiting the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, Deakin University, Grovedale Secondary College and the Gordon Institute.

They're also planning trips to Melbourne's zoo and museum, the IMAX cinema and trying their hand at rock climbing before attending the Geelong versus Carlton game at Colonial Stadium on Sunday.