2 March 2024

Riverina netball and footy fans given a Giant treat as stars come to town

| Jarryd Rowley
Start the conversation
netballers and AFL player with kids

Netballers Matilda McDonell and Chelsea Pitman, and AFL player Taine Moraschi, visit Henschke Primary School as part of the Giants’ tour of the Riverina. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

The Riverina’s next generation of sporting stars get the chance to meet their sporting heroes this weekend as the Giants Super Netball and AFL sides come to town.

The Giants netballers arrived in Wagga as part of their preseason preparation, which also included visiting schools such as Henschke Primary, where they brought friends from their associated men’s AFL team.

The pair of Matilda McDonell and Chelsea Pitman were given the superstar treatment by Henscke students, as the duo educated the crowd about why they play the sport and what it takes to reach the top levels.

READ ALSO 100 years old and still swinging: There’s no place Bert would rather be than on the golf greens

Goalkeeper McDonell described the trip to the Riverina as a special opportunity to share the sport with areas that don’t always have the chance to watch elite-level action.

“We love trips away,” McDonell said.

“One of the best parts of playing netball is seeing the littlies. They’re all so sweet and enthusiastic, it reminds me of myself when I was their age.

“It really does warm my heart to see the next generation so eager to play and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

On Friday night, the Giants netballers played their first of two games in the Riverina against the new kids of the competition, the Melbourne Mavericks.

A 1000-strong crowd, which sold out the Wagga Wagga Multipurpose Stadium in less than an hour, saw a close contest that ultimately saw the Mavericks take the win 62-58.

The Giants will have a chance to redeem themselves in front of another strong crowd in Griffith at 12 pm on Sunday, 3 March. For those who aren’t at the game, it will be live-streamed here.

As part of the Giants’ Riverina tour, a group of their men’s AFL and VFL teams also made the trip, including Griffith locals Harry Rowston and Taine Moraschi.

Rowston said coming to areas like those where he grew up was an important part of why he played the game, and he hoped the Giants would one day return to the Riverina to play.

READ ALSO Darlington Point’s Trevor Hornery on winning sporting medals at age 80

“I’ve been in these kids’ shoes and I know when I was their age, anytime an AFL player would come down it would be a memorable experience,” he said.

“To come back here and share a few things and inspire kids to play the game is great, I absolutely love it.

“I really hope sometime in the future I’ll be able to come back to Wagga or Griffith and play a game in the places I grew up playing footy.”

The Giants’ netball season starts on 15 April with a clash against the West Coast Fever, while the AFL side returns for a semi-final rematch against the reigning premier Collingwood on 9 March.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.