It’s every kid’s dream – having a birthday party and seeing your favourite AFL player walk up to join in.
Bumper bowling with Nat Fyfe, somersaulting with Luke Hodge and Daniel Rich, hooning around in Dodge ‘em Cars with Rory Sloane or climbing a jungle gym with Sydney’s Josh Kennedy… For five young footy fans, these were the activities in store as Hot Wheels toured Australia in the lead up to the 2015 season, throwing parties with some of the AFL’s biggest names.
Kicking off in Melbourne with Hot Wheels ambassador Luke Hodge at ‘Bounce’ in Essendon, young Hawthorn supporter Adam and his family and friends jumped at the chance to hang with their Hawks hero.
— AFL Players (@AFLPlayers) February 13, 2015
An energetic session on the trampolines was followed by party food, autograph and photo time and the chance to quiz Hodgey on the season ahead.
“I had a lot of fun at our Hot Wheels party and I reckon the kids did too,” Hodge said.
“I’ve loved working with Mattel over the past two seasons and these parties have been a great initiative, with loads of players getting involved all over Australia.”
Young Adam was pretty stoked to meet Hodge too.
“It was awesome! He made my party even more special, he hung out and played games and jumped around with us.”
Next up was huge Hot Wheels and Crows fan Tate, who was joined at Glenelg’s ‘Beach House’ by Adelaide’s Rory Sloane for a fun filled afternoon of Dodge ‘em Cars, Mini-Golf and Bumper Boats followed by some kick-to-kick and footy trivia on the lawn.
“When my partner dropped me off at the Beach House in Gleneg, she kissed me goodbye, saying ‘enjoy your Hot Wheels party!’ I felt 6-years-old again!” said Sloane.
“The highlight of my day was being a little kid again, I got to go on the water boats for the first time and I made a few new little mates, too”.
The highlights of Tate’s day were splashing Sloane on the water boats and playing with Hot Wheels, according to mum Lauren.
“Our whole family was incredibly excited when Tate won the competition. He made a calendar and counted down the days until the party.”
In Perth, Nat Fyfe surprised Connor and his family, joining them for a couple of rounds of Bumper Bowling at the Morely AMF.
“It’s fantastic that kids and families can have access to AFL players through the great promotions the Players’ Association and Hot Wheels run,” Fyfe said.
“What a great alignment whereby kids get to enjoy two great childhood activities – footy and toy cars.”
Connor’s mum Patricia said the kids had a great time. “They have even voted it the best party ever,” she told organisers.
Up in Sydney, two-year-old Calvin got his first taste of footy when Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy joined him and his friends at Jungle Buddies in Sydney.
Kennedy took the youngsters through their paces with a game of pass the parcel and a hotly contested round of musical chairs. There was, of course, plenty of time for sending cars down a giant Hot Wheels track set, resulting in loads of squeals of delight, the perfect way to prepare Kennedy for fatherhood with his first child just a few weeks away.
The last of the roadshow took us back to Bounce, where Lion Daniel Rich was a hit in Brisbane.
Travelling from Bundaberg, Kaden and his family spent an hour with Rich on the trampolines before heading to the Hot Wheels party room for lunch and some traditional party games.
Young Kaden said of his party experience, “I loved that Daniel talked to us and jumped on the tramps with us. And he played with the Hot Wheels tracks and cars with us, too!”
AFL Players’ and Hot Wheels released the 2015 Collector Poster last week, revealing this year’s favourite wheels of players from each Club.
Click here to download a copy of the poster and purchase any Hot Wheels vehicle for the chance to win an awesome Hot Wheels Prize Pack worth more than $1,000.