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An old photograph of a junior rugby team he played in years ago brought back many happy memories for NSW Waratah player Michael Wells.
The current NSW Waratah No 8 found the picture of his Under 11 team hanging on the wall of the clubhouse during a visit to Roseville Junior Rugby Club where he and teammate Andrew Kellaway ran an evening training session for 70 Roseville Juniors.
Michael Wells said he was surprised to find the picture.
“It was a great find and a good night and fun to be back at the club where it all began for me, and to see that the kids are just as passionate and as keen to play the game as I was at their age,” said Michael Wells.
The players from eight Roseville teams, from the Under 6’s through to Under 14’s secured the players visit by winning a competition run by power supplier AGL.
They also received a cheque for $3,000 as the leading club in AGL’s Power to Play fundraising program, which supports community and club rugby in NSW.
The President of the Roseville Juniors, Sven Graham said the boys were very excited about the ‘Tah players coming to the club and had really enjoyed their visit.
“I heard a lot of “awesomes” during the night and I guess there is no higher form of praise,” Sven Graham said.
Michael Wells said he really enjoyed the training session teaching rugby skills to the players
"I had a great time and I hope the kids did too,” Michael said.
"It’s good too that AGL is helping the juniors with the cheque for rugby equipment and it might help a few of the players go on to play at higher levels and even to the Waratahs.”
The junior players were taken through a series of drills before a thunderstorm interrupted training. After a BBQ and soft drinks, Michael Wells and Andrew Kellaway spent time signing autographs, footballs and headgear.
AGL then presented the cheque to the junior rugby club.
“We’re only a small club and it’s hard to attract sponsors, so this money will go a long way towards providing jerseys and new equipment so the players don’t have to learn on equipment designed for bigger boys,” Sven Graham said.
Looking towards the future Sven Graham said he was really optimistic about where junior rugby was going.
“Everyone knows sport works in cycles and while our numbers were about even or slightly down on last year, we’ve had a big influx of mini’s players – those in the Under 6 to Under 9’s and that where we need to focus,” Sven said.
“We’re getting the message out to parents that we have a safe game and we have a pathway so the kids learn to play safely, and it’s working.
“Night’s like tonight are all about the great community spirit that runs through rugby clubs, where players and parents can come along and really enjoy themselves.
“At this level for the players, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about the kids really enjoying themselves and their parents enjoying the social side of the rugby club”.
It’s a sentiment the Chief Executive of the NSW Rugby Union Andrew Hore agrees with.
He attended the clinic and the presentation of the AGL cheque saying this was a great example of a club taking advantage of a great offer from AGL that comes through the partnership with NSW Rugby.
“The critics are kidding themselves if they say rugby is dying - it was a great night, with everyone enjoying themselves and enjoying a good night of family fun,” Andrew Hore said.
“This is all about being part of a community, where kids learn to play and enjoy their rugby and where everyone has a ball.”
The Roseville Juniors came first in an AGL promotion open to all rugby clubs to switch over to the power supplier who is supporting community rugby. For more information visit - www.agl.com.au/rugby