The AFL is pleased to announce a second series of the Thomas & Friends collaboration has been launched, featuring a special guest appearance by Geelong's Gary Ablett Junior.
This year, three episodes have been produced and centre around Thomas the Tank Engine returning to Australia to help find the missing AFL Premiership Cup alongside his friend, Shane the Train voiced by Richmond great Matthew Richardson. During his search, Thomas reunites with his friend Tracy the Tram who is now working in Adelaide and voiced again by Brisbane Lions AFL Women's star Sabrina Frederick-Traub.
In an exciting appearance is Thomas' new Australian friend Gary the Ute, voiced by one of the AFL's greatest players, Gary Ablett Junior.
Series one, released in 2017, was an international first collaboration between the two brands. Matthew Richardson said: "I loved being part of the first series! My daughter was born not that long after the first series' release, so I can't wait to share all the episodes with her when she's older. It's definitely opening up footy and Thomas to the next generation."
Sabrina Frederick-Traub said: "I think Tracy has a bigger following than me now. My Mum's book club friends made Tracy the Tram t-shirts for them to wear which is kind of cute. I'm super pleased that Tracy's tram number is now 14, my playing number!"
Gary Ablett Junior said: "It's a really cool collaboration to be part of and I was chuffed to voice a namesake character. Gary the Ute - you can't get more Australian than that! I remember watching Thomas as a kid, and with a baby on the way I can't believe I can watch these episodes in the future and say that's my voice."
AFL General Manager Digital, Growth and Audience Darren Birch said the first season of Thomas & Friends' Australian Football adventure garnered large viewer numbers.
"We're excited to release the second series of our collaboration with Thomas & Friends as the first saw over one million views of the four episodes. The partnership opened the AFL up to a whole new audience in Australia as well as internationally through the Mattel network," Mr Birch said.
"The reception of having two familiar footy voices, in Richo and Sabrina, involved in the project was great, and we hope the addition of Gary Ablett Junior in series two excites fans both young and old." Marketing Director of Mattel ANZ, Chedney Rodgers said: "It has been a pleasure for Thomas & Friends to partner with the AFL for the second year running. Together, the brands share mutual values of teamwork, respect and discovery which we appreciate are of great importance to parents as well."
"This year is a big year for Thomas as he undertakes his biggest adventure yet – round the world – with his extended Engine family, and we couldn't be more delighted for Garry Ablett Junior to join him on the Australian stint."
The first series of Thomas & Friends' AFL Adventure can still be seen on the AFL Kids channel on YouTube.
To see the three new episodes of Series 2, please visit youtube.com/aflkids