Play­ers make it spe­cial for kids

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Footy Finals 2015 - By MATT ZIS

IMAG­INE be­ing a seven-year-old child and go­ing to a qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal to see your team, the West Coast Ea­gles, beat the reign­ing pre­miers by 32 points.

Imag­ine the ex­cite­ment of cheer­ing your team to vic­tory, be­ing part of a Mex­i­can wave, singing the club song with about 40,000 other fans af­ter the big win and then head­ing down to the fence.

Imag­ine hold­ing out your hand and hav­ing the play­ers give you a high-five as they celebrate.

And then, as if it can’t get any bet­ter than that, imag­ine Luke Shuey, one of your he­roes, lean­ing over the fence and ask­ing whether you want to join him on the oval.

And with that he picks you up and says ‘want to come down the rooms and sing the song with the boys?’.

Imag­ine all that – ev­ery young sup­porter’s dream – and bring it to re­al­ity.

Then you have the night of Wem­b­ley Ju­nior Football Club’s Jake Smethurst, a de­voted young West Coast fan who was at the ground with his grand­mother to watch the sec­ond qual­i­fy­ing against Hawthorn.

One lucky young­ster is plucked from the crowd to join Ea­gles play­ers for the team song each time West Coast play at home.

On this oc­ca­sion it was Jake who ex­pe­ri­enced the once-in-alife-time dream.

Jake was able to head down the race, hold­ing Luke’s hand and then be part of the play­ers’ cir­cle as they sang to­gether, ‘We’re the Ea­gles, West Coast Ea­gles…’.

His mother, Kel­lie, said he could hardly con­tain his ex­cite­ment when he raced through the doors of the fam­ily home.

“Jake is an avid Ea­gles sup­porter and has been vir­tu­ally since he was born,” Kel­lie said.

“My mother is a note­holder, so he went with her and was just so stoked when he came home.

“He was go­ing at a mil­lion miles an hour and was ab­so­lutely over the moon. Be­cause it was a fi­nal, mum and Jake were not sit­ting in the usual seats and at the end of the game when he raced down to the fence he was un­der strict in­struc­tions to stay be­hind it.

“I guess he fig­ured when Luke in­vited him over it was OK.”

Young Jake Smethurst with his hero Luke Shuey.

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