Docker kicks goals with kids

Move over cricket . . . footy has arrived.

With just six sleeps until Fremantle tackle Collingwood in this year's AFL season opener, WA is once again riddled by football fever.

Not even a 5-0 Ashes sweep or Australia's pulsating away series victory in South Africa can dent the hype over AFL bouncedown.

Just ask Dockers captain Matthew Pavlich, who was mobbed by pint-sized fans at Wembley Downs Primary School on Friday.

"Football in Perth is a massive thing," Pavlich said. "Most places you go around town people are mentioning the new season.

"To see the kids so excited is great."

Pavlich was at Wembley Downs to congratulate students for raising almost $30,000 in last year's Adidas Fun Run - the most of any school in the country.

Principal Linda Knox said the money was earmarked for a new nature playground, which would further encourage physical activity among students.

"We know that being active during the day is not only good for the kids' bodies, but helps with concentration and learning in the classroom," Mrs Knox said.

Students - and even some teachers - were giddy to have Pavlich on site yesterday. None more so than five-year-old Dockers fanatic Dempsey Newsome, who got a ride on the 291-game superstar's shoulders.

"He's my favourite," the preschooler said. "He scores goals a lot."

Pavlich described yesterday's announcement that coach Ross Lyon had signed a two-year contract extension as "tremendous news" for the club. The 32-year-old was buoyed by his first full preseason in years and said he had given little thought to retirement.

The West Australian

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