Kan­ga­roos ar­rive in Top End for huge Rugby League World Cup clash


IT’S not ev­ery day the en­tire Aus­tralian na­tional rugby league team vis­its the Top End, so it’s no sur­prise that Dar­winites turned out in force for a chance to see their favourite play­ers.

Af­ter touch­ing down in Dar­win yes­ter­day af­ter­noon ahead of Fri­day night’s Rugby League World Cup quar­ter fi­nal against Samoa at TIO Sta­dium, the Kan­ga­roos were swarmed with fans at the air­port and later at a meet-and­greet in the Smith St Mall.

Aus­tralian Kan­ga­roos back-rower Matt Gil­lett and front-rower Jor­dan McLean said they were look­ing for­ward to the big game, de­spite the loom­ing 30-de­gree fore­cast on Fri­day night.

“It’s go­ing to be a bit warmer than Mel­bourne or Can­berra so our preparations are go­ing to be a bit dif­fer­ent,” Mr Gil­lett said.

“It’s beau­ti­ful (here in Dar­win). We’ll try not to be out­side too much this week, drink a lot of wa­ter and hy­drate up for the game. We’ll drink a lot of wa­ter while we play and we should be all good,” Mr McLean added.

One of the many Ter­ri­to­ri­ans who took the op­por­tu­nity to get au­to­graphs and pho­tos of the Kan­ga­roos team yes­ter­day was young Oliver Muller.

The 11-year-old Dar­wi­nite has been in­ter­ested in league for as long as he can re­mem­ber and said he was very ex­cited to see the Kan­ga­roos right here in his own home town.

“It’s awe­some see­ing the Kan­ga­roos in per­son – my favourite player would have to be Cameron Smith,” he said. “I got to meet Will Cham­bers and that was pretty cool as he’s also one of my idols.”

An­other huge rugby league fan at the sign­ing ses­sion yes­ter­day was Dar­win’s Kiah Franklin and her baby boy Dar­ius Ahamd.

While young Dar­ius can­not walk or talk yet, it’s clear he be­longs to a fam­ily mad keen on rugby league with his baby romper cov­ered in Kan­ga­roos play­ers’ au­to­graphs.

“We’re mas­sive rugby league fans and we’re hop­ing to get Dar­ius into the game when he’s older,” Ms Franklin laughed.

“It’s ex­cel­lent that the Kan­ga­roos are here in Dar­win as I’ve never met them be­fore so it’s a great op­por­tu­nity.”

Dar­win lo­cal and mas­sive league fan Oliver Muller, 11, meets the Ter­ri­tory’s own Aus­tralian Kan­ga­roos player Will Cham­bers yes­ter­day Pic­ture: JUSTIN KENNEDY


Kan­ga­roos coach Mal Meninga and player Aaron Woods, bot­tom left, posed for a pho­tos with fans who came out to greet them at the air­port

Big league fans Joseph Wes­ley, Dwaine Ah­sam and Daniel Wes­ley

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