AFL's country salute

AFLCommunityChallengeWeekly Times |AFL star Tom Hawkins always knew there was a chance he would end up back on a farm.

Hawkins grew up near Finley in the Riverina, and now has his own 60ha Angus farm just outside Geelong.

“That’s probably the natural career path for most country kids where their parents are both farmers,” he said.

But for now, it’s another paddock that has his focus — the MCG, for the second annual Country Festival clash against the Bombers on May 13.

The match, the brainchild of former Bombers coach Kevin Sheedy, is designed to promote rural and regional Australia and the contribution country people make to the nation.

“We are going to build this into a great icon game,” Sheedy said. “It is about building our pillars of who we love to thank in our nation, particularly Anzac Day, and now our country game coming up against Geelong.”

The Bombers will play in a guernsey designed for the game, a red head of wheat replacing the traditional sash.

“The grain of wheat is something that has really helped build our nation, from 200 years ago and I believe that this match is all about making sure we don’t forget our country people,” Sheedy said.

The curtain-raiser at 3.30pm will be an AFL ­Victoria interleague game between the state’s top two community leagues, Geelong and ­Mornington Peninsula.

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