Lit­tle fan a big hit with Wal­la­bies

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

A WRIT­TEN man­i­festo of the Wal­la­bies’ new iden­tity, hang­ing on the wall of their ho­tel in Men­doza, is be­ing kept se­cret from the public.

But coach Michael Cheika says much of the aims are rep­re­sented in the vi­ral video of a young fan cel­e­brat­ing last week’s win over South Africa.

Se­bas­tian Na­toli’s scream­ing, floor- slam­ming sup­port of Aus­tralia was cap­tured on cam­era and watched by the en­tire Wal­la­bies squad this week. The video, which has gar­nered nearly 9000 “likes” on the Wal­la­bies’ Face­book page, em­bod­ies what the team hopes to in­stil in a new gen­er­a­tion of sup­port­ers.

“Ev­ery player has watched the video of that lit­tle kid,” Cheika said. “I know that’s not what ev­ery­one wants to hear, prob­a­bly. ‘ You’ve got to have re­sults’ and all that, and of course we want that, but we [ also] want kids en­joy­ing the game and watch­ing the Aus­tralians play.

“A lot of the guys in this team would have been young­sters when the 1999 World Cup was go­ing on, and they would have been has­sling their par­ents to wake up at 1am and watch the games. That’s what we want peo­ple to do.

“I know we’ll al­ways come back to the re­sults. I’m not look­ing for a way out. Ev­ery­one wants to win. But we want to do some­thing else as well.”

Cheika has made a host of changes and had planned to start Nick Phipps, Bernard Fo­ley, David Po­cock and Ben McCal­man.

RAPT: Wal­laby Henry Speight with fan Se­bas­tian Na­toli.

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