When Shane Mumford first moved to Sydney in 2010, there was little interest in Australian rules within schools.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Some kids had no idea what the sport was and some teachers didn't want them there, preferring the household NRL names.
But 12 years on, things have changed drastically for the sport in Sydney and out in the Central West according to Mumford.
The AFL premiership winner was at Bathurst West Public School on Tuesday running students through some drills and skills.
He said the sport has grown massively in the past decade.
"It's grown massively. I know when I first moved to Sydney, you'd go out to schools and kids had no idea what AFL was," he said.
"Some of the teachers didn't want you there, all they wanted was the NRL players. Now you go out there, you see footys flying around everywhere before you get there.
"The kids are very engaging, wanting to learn new skills."
Throughout the week, Mumford will be visiting a number of schools and local clubs across the Central West.
"We're just trying to get out and visit as many schools as possible, as well as football clubs, to help grow the game of AFL out here," he said.
"We want to get as many kids interested in this sport as possible, getting out and having fun with their friends."
He believes the sport can continue its rapid growth in the next decade.
"Just seeing what I've seen in the past 10 years, if it grows at that rate, just about every kid out here will be playing the sport," he said.
"The growth has been seriously impressive."
Mumford, nicknamed Sausage after he once ate more than 20 sausage sandwiches at a birthday party, couldn't go past the 2012 grand final win with the Sydney Swans as his career highlight.
"It's hard to go past a premiership. Obviously that's the whole reason you play football is to win the premierships," he said.
"There's been a lot of memorial games throughout my career but winning the grand final is the pinnacle of the sport."
Mumford played 216 games in the AFL, representing Geelong from 2008-2009, Sydney from 2010-2013 and Greater Western Sydney from 2014-2017 and 2019-2021.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.