Brisbane Lions pair Joel Macdonald and Haydn Kiel will visit Ballina on Saturday as more than 300 AFL players return to grass-roots football matches and local clubs across the country celebrate Community Football Weekend.

Macdonald and Kiel will be special guests at a bumper day of football at Fripp Oval, Ballina, where the Ballina Bombers will play Nimbin at 2pm after two Under-16 games and a host of other activities.

The Lions pair will mix with local players, officials and supporters as part of the celebration of 150 Years of Australian Football, and will address each of the Under-16 teams.

The AFL is hoping more than two million people across Australia will attend a game at some level over Community Football Weekend in a celebration of the key role of grassroots football.

Kevin Sheedy, 150 Years Ambassador, said AFL players were looking forward to getting back to where their football careers began.

“Players from all 16 AFL clubs will be travelling around the country to watch matches and take part in activities that community clubs have organised. It will be a fantastic experience for the players and everyone involved,” he said.

“Community Football Weekend will be a great opportunity for players to say thank you to the clubs that launched their careers; no AFL player would be in the position they are in without their community footy club.

“Community football is the heart and soul of our game.

“In 2007 more than 600,000 people played Australian Football and many more coached, umpired, officiated, volunteered and supported our game at all levels.”

Macdonald, a 23-year-old Queenslander who played senior football at Mt Gravatt after a junior stint at Aspley, has been one of the Lions form players through the first seven weeks of the season.

Kiel, 20, originally from the Gold Coast, is in his second year on the Lions’ rookie list after playing in Southport’s 2005-06 AFL Queensland premiership sides.

AFL 150 Years Community Day Program, Fripp Oval, Ballina:

  • 10am  Div 1 U/16 Northern Rivers vs Labrador.
  • Half-time: Biggest Kick Competition
  • 11.50am  Div 2 U/6 Northern Rivers vs Labrador.
  • Half-time: Sprint races.
  • 1.30pm Presentation and finals of challenges.
  • 2pm Ballina vs Nimbin.
  • Half-time: Parent and player handball competition.