Deniliquin schools went into Blues fever on Tuesday when the Carlton Football Club made a visit to the local area.
Carlton star Patrick Cripps led seven other players — Zac Fisher, Cameron O’Shea, Jesse Glass McCasker, Pat Kerr, Caleb Marchbank, Cameron Polson and Alex Silvagni — on the flying Deniliquin trip.
One of the stop-offs was Deniliquin South School where the Blues took part in a question and answer session before a quick football clinic.
The players agreed that Melbourne was the toughest team they’d played this year and that Richmond and Essendon were their most disliked teams, which didn’t please a lot of students.
In what has been a tough year for the Blues — winning just one game and sitting bottom of the ladder — defender Alex Silvagni said getting away from Melbourne to give back to small communities was rewarding.
‘‘It’s always good to see the kids enjoying themselves. Not a lot of them have an opportunity to come down to Melbourne all that often to watch a game.
‘‘I remember when I was younger it was always exciting to have a footy player come along to school.
‘‘I’d never been to Deniliquin before but I had heard of the Ute Muster and would like to get here for that one day, however it usually falls on grand final weekend,’’ Silvagni said.
South School Year 4 teacher Stephen Bulmer said the visit provided plenty of joy for the students.
‘‘We’ve had a few other teams in the past and it’s always good for the kids.
‘‘They really get on board and it gives them a chance to be up close with these superstars.’’
Mr Bulmer suggested other visiting AFL clubs could also bring a player from the AFL Women’s League.
‘‘We have plenty of young girls who love their football.
‘‘Carlton have a women’s team so it would have been great for them to bring up one of their female players. I think it’s something the AFL should start considering,’’ Mr Bulmer said.
The Carlton players also visited St Michael’s, North and Edward Primary Schools while in Deniliquin.