KERANG embraced the pride of Tigerland on Monday as six Richmond footballers visited the town as part of the Australian Football League's community camps program.
Two-time Coleman Medallist, Jack Riewoldt and ruckman, Ivan Maric headlined the contingent that spent close to four hours in the town during a two-day visit to Kerang and Swan Hill.
In what was the program's first visit to the area in 10 years and Richmond's second expedition to the town in four years, the players mingled with supporters and met residents as part of efforts to promote the game.
Joining Riewoldt and Maric were forward and former Deniliquin player, Sam Lloyd; former Gold Coast and Geelong player, Josh Caddy; second-year player, Mabior Chol; and rookie-listed player, Tyson Stengle.
A group of off-field leaders - including assistant coach, Blake Caracella - accompanied the players as part of the promotional visit.
In what was the major event of the visit, Richmond fans gathered outside the Kerang post office to meet the players.
Residents took time to receive autographs and take photos with the contingent during a shortened meet and greet session after the contingent were delayed in arriving in the town following a protest in Melbourne.
The contingent then split into two groups to conduct local school visits.
Chol, Lloyd and Maric spent 30 minutes answering students' questions at Kerang South Primary School, whilst Caddy, Riewoldt and Stengle addressed Kerang Technical High School year seven and nine pupils.
The players were asked questions ranging from which teams they supported before being drafted to play AFL, the demands of playing one of Australia's most popular sports and the toughest opponents they have faced.
"Our school greatly appreciates visits from AFL teams each year. It makes a great impression on our students when their sporting heroes talk about the qualities and skills needed to achieve their ambitions and dreams," Kerang South Primary School principal, Lyn Veall said.
The contingent wrapped up its visit to the town by meeting Glenarm residents and Kerang District Health acute ward patients.
Players were mobbed by enthusiastic residents and staff, many of whom had brought along Richmond merchandise to be signed.
Maric was full of praise for Kerang and its people during the stop-off.
"We love getting out to the kids because I know what I was like when I was a little kid seeing an AFL player," he said.
AFL Central Murray football development manager, Jamie Macri said the visit had been a huge success.
"We were so lucky to have the group of players in the region. The players, support staff and people who the group visited really enjoyed it," he said.
The tour continued at Swan Hill on Tuesday following the presentation of jumpers to Richmond Academy members the night before.