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Sport stars hoping to make big Impact

Friday, 26th October, 2018

Local Impact Centre’s (from left) Chris De Franceschi, Andrea Blundell, Harley Cannard and Rebecca Blundell. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Local Impact Centre’s (from left) Chris De Franceschi, Andrea Blundell, Harley Cannard and Rebecca Blundell. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Five former NRL, MMA and Rugby Union sports stars will be arriving in the city this weekend to run several training and fitness sessions for locals.

The event, called ‘Beyond the Gainline’, will also see the sports stars engage in a personal interview session at the local Impact Centre, the group which has helped organise their visit. 

Pastor Mark Horan was instrumental in setting up ‘Beyond the Gainline’ and said the weekend was not just about allowing locals to meet these stars and get fit, but also to better connect locals with others in their community.

“What it’s all about is belong, believe and become, helping people to connect and basically not be alone in life and have someone to chat to. We believe isolation is a bad thing,” he said.

“Obviously the church is at the centre of it. So we encourage people to have faith but we don’t force that on them. 

“I hate the word religion, so we focus more (on) a relationship with God.  So it’s about engaging the community and helping them in every way we can without judgement.

“We are trying to help in Broken Hill as well. So we’ve started a youth group there which meets on Friday nights. 

“We’re trying to lay a foundation for them for the future so they can become the best version of themselves.

“A lot of the stuff we do is non-profit, even the team coming out on the weekend is paying its own way, (so) there’s no charge for any of the clinics.”

The visit of former NRL players Solomon Haumono, Charlie Tonga and Mick Ostini, alongside former MMA fighter Mikey Vaotuua and former rugby union player Iva Motusga, will see plenty of sporting talent in the Hill.

“Solomon played for Manly and Canterbury and was also New South Wales Heavyweight Boxing Champion,” said Mark.

“Charlie Tonga played for the Broncos and the Roosters, and he was also the coach of Tonga a couple of years ago in the World Cup when they beat Samoa.

“Iva (Motusga) is a Samoan international rugby union player who played for Cornish Pirates, a team in England. 

“Then there’s Mikey (Vaotuua), who’s an MMA fighter and he’s got a story where he had a dream to succeed but he was mixing with bad company.

“He got away from that and started attending church and took some good direction in life and reconciled with his wife and family, becoming a better man and husband. 

“Then you’ve got Mick Ostini. He’s a former Souths and Roosters guy, and he played in the 90s. His whole thing is to help men. He (also) ran the PCYC in Orange for eight years.

“While all these guys succeeded, they all passed through something as well. There isn’t any human being on the planet that doesn’t have a problem. 

“So we engage with communities and encourage them to connect because it’s a myth that you don’t go through anything in life without some challenges. 

“You get through those by not staying isolated, by getting some good advice and having positive people speaking to you in your life.”

The ‘Beyond the Gainline’ event will begin Saturday morning from 10am to 12pm at Zinc Oval, where the five sports stars will work alongside local Paul Kemp in running a rugby league coaching clinic focusing on skill and speed. 

“It’s open to girls, boys and older guys and we’ll divide the four or five guys up into groups. They’ll also talk about things you can do for training like improving your diet,” said Mark.

Next up will be a training session from 3 to 5pm in the gym at the Impact Centre on Oxide Street, where locals can join in with the sports stars.

For those aged twelve to eighteen, a friendly boxing match between Solomon Haumono and Senior Constable Dean Shiner will take place at the local PCYC.

Finally, on Sunday at 10am, the sports stars will take part in a personal interview session in the church at Impact Centre.


WHAT: ‘Beyond the Gainline’

WHEN: Saturday, Sunday

WHERE: Zinc Oval 10am-12pm Saturday, Impact Centre’s Gym 3pm-5pm Saturday, PCYC (for those aged 12-18) 6pm-7.30pm Saturday, and Impact Centre’s Church 10am on Sunday.

COST: Free

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