Portsmouth Dreadnoughts are preparing for the new season and beyond after branching into the community.
The Alexandra Park side’s Southern Football Conference division two south campaign begins on Sunday with the visit of Sussex Thunder (2.30pm).
But the launch of a new school project has ensured attentions have been divided between training and coaching in recent weeks.
Linebacker Luke Alexander-Hill has been at the forefront of a partnership with City of Portsmouth Boys’ School, which has seen Dreadnoughts players give up their time to raise awareness and participation of the sport.
And the 29-year-old, who was joined by team-mates Neil Gibbs, Matt Audley, Oscar Chilton, Scott Quade, Martin Hodgkinson, Jake Hancock, Stuart Rees and Clint Fyfield in delivering the sessions, believes it has been worthwhile.
Alexander-Hill said: ‘It was always a part of the club’s idea to extend into the local community.
‘A lot of teams in the UK start up but then fold through a lack of players.
‘We want to build up a solid foundation of feeder players into the Dreadnoughts as well as giving kids experience of a sport they otherwise might not have had.’
Pupils and staff followed a 10-week programme centred on flag football – a non-contact variant of the sport.
The Dreadnoughts are keen to kick on and set up an academy for youth players.
– JEFF MARSHMAN