With the end of the 2020 school year fast approaching, there was still time for Matt McGuinness to squeeze in a visit to some familiar territory.

Taking a trip down memory lane, McGuinness visited Year 6 students at St Cuthbert’s Catholic School in Lindisfarne, Tasmania, the school he had been working at before being selected by North Melbourne in the 2019 Rookie Draft.

“It was awesome to get back to the St Cuthbert’s and see everyone there,” said McGuinness.

“I’ve built some strong relationships with the students and teachers there, so it was good to be able to get back and give back a little to the community.

“Most of the students were interested in the pathways and also about footy this year in the Hub but I think they were just really excited to have me back after the year it’s been.”

Sharing his journey and answering questions from the eager group was a valuable experience for students, said physical education teacher Sandy Clark.

“Our students absolutely love visits from the club, it is important that they hear the stories of how players came to be at North Melbourne and how much hard work it is to achieve this level,” Clark said.

“The students also get a chance to hear that there are success and failures along the way, but it is important for them to see that there is a road to success and school visits provide that opportunity for our students.

“Visits to our school also provides an opportunity to see North Melbourne players as role models. Everyone is always impressed by the professionalism of the players and it is great to see the enthusiastic way they engage with the students.”

There were smiles all round as students took park in a Q&A with McGuinness before moving out to the playground for some kick-to-kick.

With AIA Next Generation in School program visits heavily impacted this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was plain to see that the students were keen to show off their skills with a few teachers even joining in the fun.