Footy initiative takes off

John Castellano with players from the Brothers Penrith team
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Founded five years ago, Try Time started with just seven members. This year that number has blown out to 40-plus as more and more people with special needs and intellectual disabilities get involved.

Try Time provides a valuable platform for people with special needs and intellectual disabilities to participate in sport. Open to both male and female participants, ages range from as young as seven to over 40-years-old.

Recently, Elderton Homes agreed to sponsor jerseys and equipment for Brothers Penrith Junior Rugby League’s Try Time team.

“The mental and physical benefits of team sport have been documented for many years,” Elderton Homes General Manager – Sales and Marketing, John Castellano said.

“We are very pleased to support this important community initiative and look forward to watching the team’s progress in their first competition.”

Brothers Penrith Try Time team organiser, Barry Costa, said the concept has been a great success since launching in Wentworthville five years ago.

“We were approached the same year and loved the idea,” he said.

“It’s been widely embraced by the community with players and their families travelling from as far afield as Camden and Narellan to participate.”

Sponsor John Castellano with players from the Brothers Penrith team

Costa said the feedback he’s received since its inception has been “heart-warming”.

“Mums and dads tell us that it is the highlight of the week for several players, and some have been known to dress in their playing attire the previous night and sleep in it,” he said.

“The idea of all ages playing together as one unified group has worked very well. The older players look out for the younger ones, which is great to see and builds camaraderie.

“We teach the participants how to pass, play the ball, navigate agility sticks and tackle bag skills – they simply love it.”

Meanwhile, Brothers Penrith are celebrating the news that female rugby league player Christine Pauli has been selected as a member of the NSW City squad, which will play in the upcoming Women’s National Championship from June 1-3.

The 22-player squad, featuring seven NSW Women’s incumbents, will take part in the tournament on the Gold Coast, competing against NSW Country, Queensland Country, Queensland City, the Australian Defence Force and the Combined Affiliate States.

Pauli will compete for a place in the NSW Women’s State of Origin team, to be played on June 22 at North Sydney Oval.

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