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Freo launch family academy

Karina Vakil, Curtin University with  February 9, 2018 9:58 PM

DockerTV talks to past player Daniel Bandy at the launch of the Family Academy.

The Fremantle Dockers officially launched their Family Academy program on Friday night at Cockburn ARC.

The launch was the largest gathering of past players the club has seen since a function in the lead-up to the 2013 Grand Final in Melbourne.

The night saw families of current and past footballers fill the room with more than 100 people in attendance including former Fremantle captains Shaun McManus and Peter Bell with their wives and children.

The academy was established to engage the sons and daughters of current and past players to hopefully, become the next generation of Fremantle players.

Daniel Bandy, a former Freo ruckman from 1995 to 2001, said it was important the club to stay connected with its history.

“I think it’s awesome. We’re getting to that stage with the father-son and father-daughter rules, my kids fall into that bracket, so if they’re good enough you never know, they could be wearing the purple one day,” Bandy said.

The 105-game player for Fremantle said that he’d love to see his daughter Indi as one of the first to make the most of the father-daughter rule at Fremantle.

She’s the one that gets me out there kicking the footy and taking a mark and the big hangs, so you just never know do you,” Bandy said.

While the family academy will target school-aged children from year four to year nine, kids of all ages are welcome to participate in activities scheduled throughout the year.

Former player Tendai Mzungu will assist in the delivery of the family academy as well as oversee Fremantle's Next Generation Academy programs.

Such programs are made easier with Fremantle’s new facility having the space to host past players and deliver a high-quality coaching program.

“They’re unbelievable, these facilities,” Bandy said.

“I remember the day when we changed to the new ones at Freo but this is something pretty special and I’m sure everyone associated with the club is pretty proud.”