Young fans meet their heroes

Chance to chat: Western Sydney Wanderers star signing Tarek Elrich meets young players at Winmalee on Saturday.THE battle for the hearts and minds of western Sydney sports fans came to the Blue Mountains last week when players from the A-League and AFL visited the area.
Nanjing Night Net

Two players from the Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL club met their young fans at Faulconbridge on Thursday while football’s newly-unveiled Western Sydney Wanderers sent two of their stars to Winmalee’s Summerhayes Park on Saturday.

The Giants players, Josh Growden and Nathan Wilson, shared their knowledge with young Blue Mountains Kangaroos during an Auskick session at Tom Hunter Park.

The players answered questions from their young fans and signed autographs, shedding light on topics from their music tastes to pre-match food rituals.

While Growden is yet to take to the field for the Giants after spending 10 months recovering from a broken leg, Wilson shared insights about his five games for the club.

Asked if it was “scary” playing in the AFL, he conceded it was “pretty scary” running out for his first MCG game against Melbourne on June 24.

Young football fans were just as excited to meet two of the Wanderers’ star signings, Tarek Elrich and Mark Bridge, at an event hosted by the Mountains United club on Saturday.

Bridge — a premiership and championship winner with Sydney FC who grew up in St Clair — said he was excited to be part of the code’s push into western Sydney.

“We need to do these sort of events to show we are out here and we do want the public’s support,” he said.

The striker said it was important for young players to know there was a career path for football players in the western Sydney region.

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