TIGERS GET THE PICTURE
By EMMA CORNFORD
IT IS probably fair to say that the Grafton Tigers AFL team has never had as many players at training as it did on Thursday night.
Not because the finals are coming up, or because they are playing a particularly tough team this weekend.
No, it was because Jasmine from The Picture magazine, a national publication, spent the evening posing with the team as part of a sponsorship deal the Tigers have won.
Tigers player Mark Austen, who has been involved with the club for about 15 years, was the man of the moment on Thursday evening ? he was the one who entered the competition on behalf of the club.
"In 10 words or less you had to say why the club deserved the sponsorship," Mark said, as Jasmine was presented with a Tigers jersey and socks to prepare for the photo shoot.
"I said it was the club's 25th anniversary and we needed money for grog and live entertainment."
It was an entry which was nothing if not honest, and has earned the club a $1500 cash sponsorship, three visits from The Picture magazine girls during the season and the dubious honour of starring in an edition of the magazine.
So what was the team's reaction when it was told it was the winning football team selected for sponsorship by The Picture?
"They were pretty ecstatic. I don't think we've ever had so many guys at training," Mark, an avid The Picture reader, said.
"They seem pretty enthusiastic tonight, that's for sure."
The boys may have been stoked, but Jasmine admitted she found the prospect of running practically naked around a field with a team of footballers a little daunting.
"It might be a bit embarrassing, actually ? it's cold out there. I watch AFL, but I actually go for the Bulldogs," she said.
The Picture editor Ashley Gray said he was happy the magazine would be able to support a regional AFL team through the competition.
"We're just keen on promoting footy in whatever shape or form it comes in and it's always good to be able to help out country teams," he said.
"You often hear about country teams struggling to find money and that kind of thing, but hopefully this will make it a bit easier. We're all about spreading goodwill and happiness here at The Picture magazine."
The Tigers will be appearing with Jasmine in issue 928 of The Picture, to be released on June 14.