Tamworth’s own Alan Tongue believes Saturday’s NRL clash played at Scully Park has the potential to leave behind a string of long-lasting effects.
Money brought to town and new players to the game are two results Tongue believes the game being brought to Tamworth will provide but above all that, the former Canberra captain said it will give youngsters a memory they’ll never forget.
“When I was about five or six years old, Laurie Daley and Dean Lance came for a training session at minor league one day and I can still remember that. And that was just for a training session and to sign a few autographs,” Tongue said.
“To actually meet the players and watch a game. This is going to be etched in the memories of people forever.”
Tongue believed young people would “leave the game energised” and would continue an association with the game in some capacity.
“They might not want to play the tackle version but they might go and play touch or they might become a member a footy club,” Tongue said.
Tongue was also looking forward to the game as a fan.
“They’ve just set it [the NRL competition] alight,” Tongue said of Newcastle and Wests.
“The Tigers had a great win on the weekend and Newcastle have had some really good wins. They beat the Raiders down at home – I was commentating that game – they looked so exciting and slick with the ball in hand. It’s going to be a treat for the locals to see.”
Tongue will also commentate the Tigers-Knights game but it’s not the only reason the former Country Origin player is in town.
He has been helping run the Scripture Union Rugby League Camp.
It is the second year the camp has been held.
It started on Monday and runs over three days at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School.
“It’s been great, we’ve got an increased number of young people that have come across to do the camp,” Tongue said.
“We want to continue to grow it each year.
“It’s good to get back home and good to spread a couple messages that are really important to me.
“Not only about how great rugby league is and to improve our skills as a player but my faith has been really important to me throughout my career.”
Tongue will also run a session on the National Rugby League’s Voice against Violence program on Wednesday night before “ducking down to Newcastle” and then coming back to Tamworth in time for the Scully Park blockbuster.
The NRL clash will kick off at 5.30pm but Scully Park gates will open at 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon with an under 18s curtain-raiser between local teams Kootingal and Dungowan starting at 3pm.