Dane Zander, Alex Mafi, and Matt Faessler from the Queensland Reds visited Warwick Water Rats yesterday. Picture: Jessica Paul
Dane Zander, Alex Mafi, and Matt Faessler from the Queensland Reds visited Warwick Water Rats yesterday. Picture: Jessica Paul

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Warwick’s rising stars of rugby union made the most of a potentially once-in-a-lifetime chance to take the field with Queensland sporting royalty.

Queensland Reds players Matt Faessler, Alex Mafi, and Dane Zander visited the Warwick Water Rats on Thursday as part of their ‘Reds to Regions’ tour.

Warwick Water Rats with the Queensland Reds players yesterday. Picture: Jessica Paul
Warwick Water Rats with the Queensland Reds players yesterday. Picture: Jessica Paul

Warwick up-and-comers of all ages turned out at Risdon Oval to take the field with the three sports superstars for a muck-around game of touch footy and mini training session.

For Reds hooker Alex Mafi, the chance to visit smaller regional communities and clubs in this year’s tour was a special opportunity in the lead-up to the 2021 SuperRugby season.

“Everyone’s been really welcoming, the hospitality has been awesome, and the kids out here have heaps of talent and energy,” Mafi said.

The Reds players hit the field in a mock touch footy game with Warwick Water Rats of all ages yesterday. Picture: Jessica Paul
The Reds players hit the field in a mock touch footy game with Warwick Water Rats of all ages yesterday. Picture: Jessica Paul

“We’re based in Brisbane, but our team is called the Queensland Reds, so we want to get out and connect with who we’re playing for and get to know the communities.

“Queensland’s a big place and we want to be able to represent them really well, so what better way to start the year off than going out, meeting, and serving the people you’re playing for.”

One of the most precious moments for Water Rats secretary Tess Enchelmaier was the jersey exchange, when the Reds gifted the club with a signed premiership jersey.

Reds hooker Alex Mafi and Water Rats secretary Tess Enchelmaier after the jersey exchange. Picture: Jessica Paul
Reds hooker Alex Mafi and Water Rats secretary Tess Enchelmaier after the jersey exchange. Picture: Jessica Paul

“It was really, really good, and turned out even better than expected. To have lots of teenagers and people of different ages all out together and enjoying themselves was really nice,” Enchelmaier said.

“I think, for me at least, it feels like it’s kind of a reward for doing so well over the past couple of years.

“Last year was the first year we pushed really hard for juniors, and it’s so nice to see them feel like part of the community and come back to the club and take part in things like this.”

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