Roosters Give Back to Bronte Community
As the end-of-lunch bell sounded at Bronte Public School, more than 50 eager students piled into the hall. Instructed to sit on the floor by their teachers, they crossed their legs and listened attentively, as their Principal, Ms Catherine Ryan, said a few words.
Thanking Easts Group and Mirvac for their gardening, painting and general maintenance, Ms Ryan expressed her gratitude on behalf of the Bronte School community.
“Mirvac and Easts Group have done a tremendous amount of work for our school today,” she said.
“We can now find all our balls because the gardens are so tidy and we’re going to continue to work on that area and make it a nature walk.”
The students, many of whom play junior rugby league in the Roosters heartland, nodded in agreement with their Principal, while looking around the room at the group of volunteers, from Easts Group and Mirvac, before their gaze locked on two familiar faces.
There, at the front of the hall, stood towering Sydney Roosters forward, Matt Lodge and Roosters Academy product, Xavier Va’a.
Lodge and Va’a discussed their positions, shared stories about how they started playing rugby league and their favourite things about the game, before jumping into a question-and-answer session.
Almost every child in the hall, all budding Roosters fans, threw their hands in the air, reaching as high as possible, attempting to get the players’ attention.
Lodge and Va’a answered a variety of questions; including how many tries they’ve scored, what their best rugby league win was and how it felt to beat South Sydney on Friday night.
Following the questions, Lodge and Va’a offered their signatures, signing pencil cases, casts, Roosters lanyards and handballs before the 3:00pm bell sounded.
For Va’a, an emerging young front-rower who captained the Under 19 Queensland Maroons team last year, the chance to meet and put a smile on the face of members of the Eastern Suburbs community was an opportunity not to be missed.
“The event was awesome,” he said. “It was definitely very humbling to go to Bronte Public School, it reminded me of when I was a kid, it was a great experience.”
“It’s crazy to think they wanted me to sign their things. Lodgey has played NRL, but I haven’t really done anything big in the game yet, but I feel really grateful that I could help do the little things to make their day a bit better.”
Easts’ ongoing preferred partner Mirvac has allowed players and staff to immerse themselves in the local community, giving back to those in need, while supporting new initiatives.
Mirvac CEO of Development, Stuart Penklis, thanked the Easts Group staff for their involvement at the Annual Community Day, saying that the maintenance work completed at Bronte Public School will help the students in a variety of ways.
“I think looking around and the works that the team have done here today, they’re just little things but it makes all the difference,” he said.
“Looking at the team and looking at our two great organisations and the way everyone has bonded, that’s what it’s all about, it’s great and we are very thankful to have our partnership with Easts.”
Sydney Roosters and Easts Group CEO Joe Kelly also attended the Community Day, meeting the many employees from both organisations, while offering his assistance with the tasks.
“It was great to be involved again this year with Mirvac in their Annual Community Day,” he said. “As development partners in our Waverley Bowling Club redevelopment, I have seen firsthand that Mirvac, through their actions, demonstrate their commitment to improve the communities within which they have projects.”
“We have our own staff volunteering program as part of giving back to our local communities, and it was wonderful to see a number of our staff from both the Sydney Roosters and Easts Group work side by side with Mirvac.
“It was fantastic to watch the school kids also interact with two of our players, Matt Lodge and Xavier Va’a, who hosted a Q&A session, which could have gone on all day!”.