THEY’RE almost locals.
Trent Cotchin’s parents live in Moama.
Brandon Ellis comes to Echuca to wakeboard during summers.
And Richmond’s next generation academy covers the region.
So it makes sense that Richmond would call Echuca home early this week as part of their 2018 Community Camp.
The club split its list in half, with a group including captain Cotchin, All-Australian captain Alex Rance and coach Damien Hardwick making their way to Echuca.
The trip to the region began with a civic reception at the Rochester Football Club, with members of council and AFL Goulburn Murray there to welcome the premiers to the town.
Alex Rance said the club was ecstatic to be in the region.
“It’s really nice to get to be back out to the happy hunting ground,” Rance said.
“Personally I love going to the schools. It’s an opportunity for those young kids who probably don’t get the same exposure to football that those in the city do.
“They can come down to training and have a bit more contact with us, so you can sense how happy they are when you talk to them about football.”
Rance didn’t have to wait long for the opportunity, with the team heading to local schools to talk to students — and more than a fair share of teachers – about their success.
At Rochester Secondary College the players were grilled on key subjects from diet and training to their childhood clubs and players of choice.
In a surprising moment, a question about former Western Bulldogs cult hero Jarrad Grant’s move to Frankston had the Tigers stumped.
The players moved on to Echuca hospital, having the opportunity to spend some time with patients, particularly a few passionate Richmond supporters.
They were also met with patients more than happy to mention how much they despised the yellow and black.
The afternoon session saw the group again split, with a super clinic held at Echuca College, while the coaches took the opportunity to run drills with the region’s next generation academy kids.
“We are looking at teaching them about how to attack the ball,” assistant coach Ivan Maric said.
“We want them to be looking for multiple ways to move the football, using their strengths to attack the play.”
The camp continued on Tuesday morning, with a majority of the players taking to the paddle steamer Pevensey for breakfast with Echuca based academy players, as well as some fans.
The big event of the camp came on Tuesday morning, with the club holding an open training session at Victoria Park for hundreds of school children.
After running a number of drills, the players put on an extended autograph session after training.
For the remainder of the day, the club spent time with local schools, doing everything from kick-to-kick to playing volleyball.
“We love the fans,” Tigers midfielder Branden Ellis said.
“It’s always an amazing opportunity to spend time with these fans, getting to have a bit of fun with them and doing what we love.”