Pride of the Lions
By STEVE SPINKS
BEAU McDonald has been a professional Australian Rules Football player for seven years.
You would think with this experience he would be nearly 30 years old.
He is only 24.
McDonald, from Perth, moved to Brisbane at the age of 17.
The injured Brisbane star visited the Northern Rivers last week with team-mate Jared Brennan and they visited five schools around the area.
"I was so excited to be going to Brisbane," McDonald said.
"I didn't think how young I was. But Brisbane is a lot like Perth."
Even though he was a talented junior, the 203cm tall 103kg ruckman never thought he would be a professional footballer.
"It's a dream," McDonald said.
"Brisbane is a great place to live and you don't get the hassles like players in Melbourne."
The down-to-earth McDonald doesn't understand how players can be high profile footballers and not be role models to the community and to children.
"You are paid big money for your work," he said.
"You have a responsibility to kids and your club."
So did any of the school children on the Northern Rivers know much about AFL?
"Some did, some didn't," McDonald smiled.
However, the Lions star urged youngsters to get into AFL.
"You can play AFL if you are tall or short," he said.
"If you are any good, especially in Queensland, you stand out.
"There are so many pathways open to young footballers these days, it's amazing."
Besides passing on some basic footy knowledge, and hundreds of autographs, the duo also talked about life skills and the importance of goal setting.
With the Lions eyeing a fourth AFL crown in a row, spare a thought for McDonald and Brennan who are on the injured list.
This is the second time McDonald has missed a finals series after he succumbed to a knee injury last year.
Unfortunately, the same injury has kept him on the sidelines this season.
At the moment the duo have become highly paid supporters when they are not doing their junior development work.
"If I put my supporters hat on I would say we (Brisbane) are a fair show this year," McDonald said.