When Cale and Walt James saw their heroes take to the field to take on the Cats at the QEO last Sunday they had no idea they would be sharing a meal with three Bombers a few days later.
The seven and four-year-old boys heard a knock on their Rochester door yesterday morning and found Essendon Bombers team members Orazio Fantasia, Michael Hartley and Paddy Ambrose on their doorstep.
“I can’t remember exactly what they said, but one of them said they were there to have breakfast with us,” Cale said.
Father Al James said the boys had no idea the visit had been planned by the Essendon Football club, AusKick and AFL Goulburn Murray.
“The little fella (Cale) was picked out of 11 or 12 other AusKick kids who barrack for Essendon in the area,” he said.
AFL Goulburn Murray general manager Martin Gleeson said Cale said the visit was a success.
“When (Cale) answered the door he was a bit shell-shocked,” he said.
However as the family sat down to breakfast and talked football the boys warmed up. The morning was sealed with a game of kick-to-kick and the boys didn’t want the players to leave, Mr Gleeson said.
Cale said his favourite parts of the morning was having a kick with the Bomber players as well as getting photos and autographs from them.
The visit came after the Bombers loss to the Cats at a packed Bendigo’s Queen Elisabeth Oval last Sunday.
The squad traveled north after the game to spend two days in the Rochester and Kyabram areas, hoping to foster stronger links between the AFL and the wider community.
The Essendon squad was in the area for the AFL Australia Post Community Camp, an annual event which last year saw more than 750 players from all 18 clubs spend at least two days out in metropolitan and regional areas.
Mr Gleeson said the visit to the James houshold was one of many made to schools, aged care facilities, hospitals and other community hubs as well as visits to some of Kyabram’s famed dairy farms.
The team also carried out training sessions for junior football clubs and the AFL Goulbern Murray’s Youth Acadamy.
Essendon begins its tilt at the 2017 premiership on Thursday 23 March against Hawthorn.