Three Narromine teenagers came face-to-face with their idols when the NSW Swifts held a meet and greet at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on Thursday.
Makahlia and Kira-Lyn Edwards and Emma Doherty all play for the Narromine Netball Association, and made the trip to Dubbo with their mothers.
Natasha Doherty said her girls have been playing netball since under 7s, and have had always had a “soft spot for the Swifts”.
“Makahlia was actually a ball girl for them a few months ago, so just to meet the girls and have that more intimate meet and greet was amazing,” she said.
“I think the girls were a little bit starstruck, a little it in awe. They think so much of the game so having these girls in front of them, passing on their challenges of what it took for them to get to where they are, was so inspiring for the girls.”
... having these girls in front of them, passing on their challenges of what it took for them to get to where they are, was so inspiring for the girls.Natasha Edwards
Netball fans young and old were on hand to meet the Suncorp Super Netball side at the zoo, with players signing countless autographs and posing for photos.
All the Swifts’ biggest names were on hand. Paige Hadley was incredibly popular with the youngsters, as was Abbey McCullough but each and everyone of the Swifts enjoyed the chance to meet juniors who played in their own position.
Newly-appointed Swifts coach Briony Akle was delighted by what she saw.
“We are super excited to be in Dubbo. We had a great bus ride and we’re so happy to be here and seeing our Swifts fans who we don’t get to see that often,” Akle said.
“We know we’re bigger than just Sydney and that we have got loads of supporters in rural areas like Orange, Dubbo and surrounds so it was really important for us, going into next season, to connect with the fans who aren’t just in Sydney.”
“It’s really important they meet out fans who are in regional NSW and we’re super happy with it.”
Edwards said meeting the players “breaks down barriers” for junior athletes in the bush.
“We had that conversation with the Swifts’ captain [Abbey McCulloch] – we would like them to make this more of a priority,” she said.
“It’s amazing for them to give these kids the opportunity – they can literally touch them – and it does so much for these girls.
“A big thanks to the Swifts for coming out.”
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