My experience at the Queensland Reds’ Fan Day

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    On Saturday the 18th of February, I went along with my five year old daughter and four year old son to the Queensland Reds’ Fan Day at Ballymore in Brisbane.

    This was a great, free event for three hours where the kids (and lots of adults) got to meet the players, get posters, balls, caps etc signed, and have photos taken with the players.

    My kids were excited to meet and get photos with Quade Cooper, Radike Samo, James Horwill and the Fainga’a twins. All of them were very easy going and personable with the kids, especially the Fainga’a boys.

    I thought that this must be something that every Super Rugby side in Australia did, but looking at the websites of the other teams it doesn’t appear so, which is a shame.

    This Fan Day had fun activities like attempting to get lineout throws through a hole, jumping castles, sumo suits, dance performances player interviews conducted by the MC on the stage and wife carrying contests. All the junior rugby clubs were represented there to encourage sign ons.

    Getting the opportunity for children to interact with the players that they have only seen on TV is great. It also allows them to see other kids who have joined up for junior rugby (my daughter is starting playing this season), and for parents to talk to other parents whose children are starting rugby. Also, it gives the players the chance to connect with their young fans.

    Is this happening in other locations? To me, this sort of approach helps to grow the game, and get fans young and old engaged with the team. As we left my kids were twisting my arm to take them to Reds games and this is the sort of enthusiasm that teams want to generate.

    Congratulations to Queensland Rugby for running this event and it was great to see such a good turnout. I think the other Australian Super Rugby sides could learn from this supporter engagement and I hope that it continues with more events like this.

    Ideally they should take this sort of event out to the regional areas as well, but I know that this could be hard to organise.

    There was a lot of signage up about a school based program for getting the Reds to come to your school (which my daughter was very keen on) called Rookies2Reds

    This seems like a proactive endeavour to get more kids exposed to rugby, which has to be a good thing as well.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • February 19th 2012 @ 2:03pm
      Yikes said | February 19th 2012 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

      Yes, the Waratahs did this as well:

      In fact, it seems all States did something. It was an ARU initiative to have a National Rego day, although this turned into simply fan days in most areas:

    • February 19th 2012 @ 2:06pm
      bill said | February 19th 2012 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

      Nice article ncart. I also thought it was a pretty good event. After the Reds Fan Day, I took my two young boys to sign up at Wests in the afternoon. To my surprise, the Fainga’as showed up at Wests. They were both still full of smiles and enthusiasm, and were absolutely great with all the kids. Good stuff.

    • February 19th 2012 @ 2:40pm
      Onor said | February 19th 2012 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

      yea.. the blues had one today aswell.. i think its the norm for all the teams
      in nz aswell.

    • February 19th 2012 @ 6:30pm
      under arm said | February 19th 2012 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

      The Rebels had one yesterday before the Crusaders Trial, Pretty good too all Kids that signed up got a Juniors Rebels Membership, Free entry to the Trial, Free entry to the Cheaters match and $5 tickets for the rest of the session plus lots of other stuff. Great Day

    • February 20th 2012 @ 9:56am
      King of the Gorgonites said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      great work by the Reds. it seems they are really switched on with what the public want.

      The tahs do similar things. they were even out at a gay promo for the upcomnig mardi gras with the Sydney Convicts. so the Tahs are also conencting with the community.

      • February 20th 2012 @ 10:54am
        emuarse said | February 20th 2012 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        I can understand the tahs players being out at a gay promo – that makes sense, lol

    • February 20th 2012 @ 11:22am
      ncart said | February 20th 2012 @ 11:22am | ! Report

      I wasn’t aware this was a national thing but glad to hear it. The Reds had it very prominently on their website – when I looked at some of the other Australia S15 sites I didn’t notice it – l can see now from Yikes link that it was in their news section but when I looked the news was more about the trial matches etc. Bill – the Faingaa’s were great weren’t they – definitely have the personalities to be used for promoting the game to kids, I think the QRU should get them actively out to the schools because kids love them.

      Anyway, I think this is a good initiative by the ARU and the provinces, there’s a few things that could be tweaked with it such as having the kids do something playing wise with the players – passing the ball to them or something, maybe that was happening and I didn’t notice it with everything going on, but anything that gets more support for the game is a good thing. Let’s hope that this leads to good support for all the teams this season and of course good performances.

      An interesting thing that came up at the Reds Fan Day is a lady from another junior rugby club talked to me about my daughter playing and asked if my 4 year old was playing – he is too young at our club, and she told me that her club (Redlands) has a 3-5 year old program – no games just skills training and fun, and I then discovered that Wests in Brisbane also have a 3-5 program to get the younger siblings involved. We’re trying to see if our club (Easts) will do something similar as I certainly have a starter for it – is this sort of thing being run at other clubs around the place? Currently younger kids can join up with soccer and I think AFL so that is where a lot of them are going from the families I know, and potentially staying with that sport long term.

      • February 21st 2012 @ 4:04pm
        Rhino said | February 21st 2012 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

        Nice article ncart. I wanted to go to the Ballymore Fan Day with my 5 and 7 year old but my wife and her crazy plans got in the way (long story).

        But I was interested to read about your daughter signing up. I signed up my 7 year old daughter a couple of weeks ago as she’s been eager for years but I thought I’d wait until my boy could start in the Under 6’s so they could join the Club together. Anyway, my daughter is going to be the only girl player in the entire Brothers’s Club – juniors and seniors. But I’m told the other clubs have registered a few girls which is great.

        My wife is a bit unsure about it all especially as Under 8s is tackle (not touch like lower age groups). But I think it’s great that she’s already got a love of the great game of Rugby and a real passion for the Reds. Good to see them start early!

        • February 21st 2012 @ 10:09pm
          ncart said | February 21st 2012 @ 10:09pm | ! Report

          Hi Rhino, good to hear your daughter has joined up. One of the female volunteers at Easts when we signed up told me that her son played Under 8’s last year and the boys are afraid to tackle the girls, but the girls don’t care, so they have a pretty good run of it. My wife’s GP, a real rugby fan said that when his sons were young players at GPS there was a girl who was the best player in one of the son’s teams. I think the more that we can encourage girls to play and get more of them along then the more we will overcome the Mum’s fear of their kids playing and getting hurt. We saw a few girls playing last year when we went down to Easts one morning to watch the young kids play – get your daughter to encourage her school friends to give it a go too.

          • February 22nd 2012 @ 12:38pm
            Rhino said | February 22nd 2012 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

            Thanks ncart – I actually heard someone else the girls do well at rugby at that age as it’s a bit like school in that they tend to listen a bit better to the coach (teacher) while the boys just want to run around. I am hoping some of school friends might get the bug and give it a go.

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