GREATER Western Sydney Giants tangled with the West Coast Eagles in a pre-season match in the riverina’s own backyard on Saturday.
Thousands seized the opportunity to watch the match first-hand at Narrandera Sportsground and rejoiced at the AFL’s return to the riverina.
Travis Irvin, a member of the Leeton-Whitton Crows family was proud to see the match played in Narrandera.
“Narrandera Sportsground has been the heartbeat of Australian Football in the riverina for a century,” Irvin said.
“The ground has such great history and has hosted so many big games over the years.
“Regardless of what you think of the policies between Narrandera, Wagga and Albury, one things not in question is that Narrandera Sportsground is the premier facility in the riverina.
“It’s one of the great country stadiums in Australia.”
The efficient handling of the thousands of people in attendance and access to facilities clearly showed Narrandera Sportsground was up to the challenge.
Some of the people made the drive to Narrandera for the first time to catch the match while others were happy to return and see their favourite teams take to the field.
The influx of AFL fans had a direct benefit to the communities.
“The communities are supported here,” Mr Irvin said.
“It’s fantastic for Narrandera and its great for towns nearby like Leeton and Griffith.”
The people making the trek into Narrandera spent money in surrounding communities, a clear benefit to local business and the economy.
Hosting the match between two professional teams in the riverina’s backyard offered adults and children alike were able to get an up close and personal look at their favourite players.
“Leeton, Griffith, Lockhart, Ganmain, Coolamon, Barellan, Area Park, footy is the lifeblood of the communities,” Mr Irvin said.
Mr Irvin hoped that children would be inspired and encouraged to devote more efforts towards exercise, possibly set their sights on a career as a professional athlete.
“The bigger picture is that this is promoting physical activity and kids being healthier kids,” he said.
“And that’s what we all want.”
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