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Young Lizards’ trip of a lifetime

The Narrandera Junior Lizards will be taking the trip of a lifetime next Saturday when the entire Junior Rugby League team will be journeying to Sydney.
11 May 2017

The Narrandera Junior Lizards will be taking the trip of a lifetime next Saturday when the entire Junior Rugby League team will be journeying to Sydney to see the Penrith Warriors play. 
There the Lizards will not only stay at the Penrith club as the guests of the Penrith Panthers, they will also meet the players and have dinner at the club on Saturday night.
“There’s 92 of us going,” said organiser  Ian ‘Bulldog’ Matthews.
“Fifty-seven on the bus and the rest are driving. The bus is completely full.”
The children are going to have an action packed day, albeit with an early start.
“We’ve got to leave at four in the morning, but that’s bad luck. When we get there we’ll meet Mark Geyer, the kids will get to walk across the grounds with him. The kids are all in reserved seating, so they’re all sitting together.
“After the game all the players are going to come over and meet the kids, sign autographs, take photos, that sort of thing,” Matthews said.
After the game the junior Lizards will head back to the Penrith Panthers club for dinner, where Matthews would like to offer a token of his appreciation.
“I would like to present them with a couple of didgeridoos. They’ve really bent over backwards for us. I’d like to present one to the Penrith board.”
The trip is the result of a lot of hard work and discussion with the club from Matthews, who has been encouraging the Penrith club to engage more with rural and regional communities.
“It’s taken a few trips to Sydney to achieve, but the results will be wonderful for the Junior Lizards. A lot of these kids have never been to an NRL game before,” Matthews said.
According to Matthews, the Penrith club have been extremely generous in their treatment of the Narrandera Junior Lizards.
 Mark Geyer has bought the team two sets of jumpers and when returning home from a trip to Sydney the club loaded up Matthews’ car with glow-in-the-dark footballs for night training.
“They’re $60 each and I had a backseat full of them,” Matthews said.
“They’ve paid for our accommodation. It’s $3000 and they didn’t even blink. They’ve also donated signed jumpers that we can auction off.”
However, it’s not just the club who have contributed to the trip. The Lizards have been selling raffle tickets to raise money for the trip and plenty of local businesses have jumped on board to help.
“Rod Russell at Precision Irrigation – he’s done a lot for us. He’s supported us -  and he gave the kids drink bottles that say ‘Penrith 2017’. 
“The Narrandera Ex-servicemen’s Club have been very generous, and the Rodeo Committee gave us $1000. My brother Rod Matthews, who lives in Penrith, has helped organise a lot.
“Andrew Lavaha, he’s the one that got the passes so the kids could get in for free."
Lahava is an NRL Development Officer and was responsible for facilitating the Backyard League workshops in Narrandera last March.

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