Sports chief: Bar­rack for our towns

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Re­gional sport­ing per­son­al­ity David Jen­nings has de­scribed de­vel­op­ments sur­round­ing a Good Friday foot­ball match be­tween Ararat and Stawell as a ma­jor win for events culture across the Grampians.

Mr Jen­nings, Ararat Foot­ball Club pres­i­dent, said the match at Ararat’s Alexan­dra Oval and the Stawell Gift at Cen­tral Park pro­vided per­fect book­ends for ma­jor at­trac­tions across the Easter break.

“The ap­pear­ance of for­mer AFL play­ers in teams on Friday is a mas­sive bonus and helps pro­mote the whole re­gion ei­ther side of the Great Di­vid­ing Range on the events map,” he said.

For­mer St Kilda star and na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tive Leigh Mon­tagna will play for Ararat in a one-off ap­pear­ance and for­mer Colling­wood and Fre­man­tle for­ward Jack An­thony has signed with Stawell.

“For many years Good Friday, de­spite be­ing an im­por­tant day on the Chris­tian cal­en­dar, has for many rep­re­sented lit­tle more than a sim­ple day off,” Mr Jen­nings said.

“We’re con­fi­dent we now have a pretty good formula that makes the most of the day, and the week­end in gen­eral, to the ben­e­fit of sport­ing, fes­ti­val and ac­tiv­ity lovers in our part of the world.”

Mr Jen­nings said or­gan­i­sa­tions were work­ing in­de­pen­dently and col­lec­tively to feed off each other to of­fer al­ter­na­tives to em­brace Easter week­end op­por­tu­ni­ties. “Our club for ex­am­ple has iden­ti­fied a need to be front and cen­tre when it comes to pro­mot­ing not only our footy and netball club, but Ararat dis­trict in gen­eral,” he said.

“We’re de­ter­mined to put Ararat at the fore­front of what’s hap­pen­ing in the re­gion and we know that Stawell Foot­ball Netball Club thinks the same way.

“We have the Stawell Gift, well es­tab­lished as an iconic event, com­bined with Stawell cup races, but it’s im­por­tant that we don’t rest on these lau­rels as a re­gion.

“It’s about giv­ing peo­ple op­tions and why we also gladly pro­mote events such as the Great Western Rodeo, Moys­ton Easter Mar­ket, Wil­laura Fam­ily Fun Day, a Chil­dren’s Easter Cel­e­bra­tion at Alexan­dra Oval on Sun­day, Ararat pac­ing and trot­ting cups meet­ing and any other event that makes the most of the week­end op­por­tu­nity.”

Stawell will also present its Main Street Sen­sa­tion com­mu­nity event from 9am to 1pm on Easter Satur­day, an event fea­tur­ing a va­ri­ety of fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties, demon­stra­tions, per­for­mances and dis­plays.

Stawell Biz and North­ern Grampians Shire have or­gan­ised the event to help busi­nesses show­case Stawell as part of a big Easter week­end.

Mr Jen­nings said from his club’s point of view, the Easter week­end was all about the Good Friday foot­ball and netball fix­ture and a de­sire to draw peo­ple to Ararat for the oc­ca­sion.

“We want peo­ple to come and en­joy the out­stand­ing fa­cil­i­ties and en­vi­rons of Alexan­dra Oval and gar­dens,” he said.

“We have fan­tas­tic fa­cil­i­ties that we can per­haps take for granted some­times. It’s im­por­tant that we ex­ploit them when pos­si­ble.

“We’re putting this on for the peo­ple of Ararat and dis­trict and the broader Grampians com­mu­nity. Both clubs have gone to great ef­forts to se­cure AFL play­ers for this game in par­tic­u­lar, which is the only match in the re­gion for 150 kilo­me­tres, is the first en­counter for the year for the Perc Bushby Cup and will be a rip­per.

“As some­one who has lived in Ararat all my life, it is ob­vi­ous we need to bar­rack hard, not only for our footy teams, but also our towns, and this is a great op­por­tu­nity.”

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