You could not wipe the smile off Travis Colyer’s face.
Having been swarmed by hundreds of ecstatic Tatura Primary School students, the Essendon speedster could only stand back and admire the pure enthusiasm on show — of pupils seeing AFL players in the flesh.
‘‘I’m not really anybody at Essendon, but they’re just so happy to see you,’’ Colyer said.
‘‘(I enjoy) just the excitement from the kids and how happy they are.
‘‘We obviously do a fair few of these visits, but the enthusiasm they show — you don’t have to give a lot to get a lot of reward back.
‘‘And it’s good coming to these small towns that don’t see a lot of AFL players like metropolitan areas would.’’
Colyer, with twin-tower teammates Shaun McKernan and Matthew Leuenberger, spoke to the students about being a footballer, training, nutrition and life after football, before spending lunchtime mingling with the youngsters.
Perhaps the pleasant afternoon at Tatura — with another three teammates at Sacred Heart Primary School — was exactly what the Essendon boys needed to brighten up their season, with the Bombers currently reeling at 2-5.
But Colyer, currently out of action with a foot injury, said pressure came with the territory.
‘‘There’s a lot of outside noise and views, but all that matters is how we’re going,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s pressure every week, and you’d be naive to think we don’t put ourselves under pressure, let alone that external stuff. We want to win just as much as anyone, but it is a process.
‘‘We’re working through a little patch at the moment and I think that’s been well documented, some guys aren’t in great form and that’s a part of footy.
‘‘Hopefully we can go into the bye with a few wins and really start playing the way we want to.’’
The Bomber trio spoke particularly strongly about the short-term nature of an AFL career and Colyer, who studies part-time in preparation for his next chapter, said the end was always just around the corner.
‘‘As you get older you probably think about it more; we are AFL players, but also people, and it’s a short-term thing, unlike a lot of other industries,’’ he said.
‘‘The AFLPA, the AFL and the footy club have been fantastic in terms of encouraging guys to do stuff, we get educational training grants and we get one and a half days a week off as player development time — to work, study or do whatever.’’
But nine years into his time in the big league, Colyer said it remained the dream job.
‘‘I love it; rehab at the moment and I’ve been there for five months, but ultimately you’re spending time with 44 of your really good mates, get fit and if not injured get to play every weekend,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a pretty good place to be.