Sports stars shine

Narrandera is very proud of it's "boys" – Dan Christian in action for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League; Giants vice-captain Stephen Coniglio embraces Zac Williams after a hard-fought win in the elimination rounds. (Photos: Supplied).

Zac heads to Grand Final while Dan gets tap from PM

CRICKET

Former Narrandera cricketer Dan Christian and Ashes test cricketer Peter Siddle will co-captain the Prime Minister’s XI in a Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka in Canberra next month.

Christian, a veteran allrounder and former schoolboy cricketer at Narrandera, was a key member of the Melbourne Renegades side that won last summer’s KFC BBL title, and is also current captain of the Australian Aboriginal Cricket Team, honouring his family links to the Wiradjuri tribe.

He is the son of Clem Christian who could not be more proud of his son’s achievements.

“I know Dan is over the moon with his latest captaincy in partnership with Peter Siddle. I also know for a fact that all of Narrandera is extremely proud of this latest chapter in his cricket career.”

Once described by Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann as one of the finest outfielders he had ever seen, Clem Christian describes his son as supremely confident without being “big headed”.

“Dan could have been anything he wanted and could have just as easily become a champion footballer as a cricketer,” he said.

An idea of just how down to earth this accomplished cricketer is can be gleaned from a conversation Dan Christian had with his dad in a boat fishing on the Murrumbidgee River at Narrandera on his last visit home.

“He said to me you know ‘Dad I have been a lot of places and seen a lot of things through my cricket. However of all the places I could choose to be it would be here with you at 7am in the morning in a boat fishing the Murrumbidgee.’”

Co-captain Siddle, 34, is fresh from Australia’s drawn Ashes Test series in the UK that saw the visitors become the first team to retain the trophy on foreign soil for nearly two decades.

Siddle played the most recent of his 67 Test matches for Australia at The Oval in a defeat that saw the Ashes series drawn 2-2, and Test captain Tim Paine revealed the Victorian had bowled through a hip injury picked up on the first day.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that while naming co-captains was a break from tradition, both players would be outstanding representatives.

“Peter and Dan have not only been outstanding cricketers over a number of years, they have also been ambassadors and leaders of the game domestically and overseas,” Morrison said. “I want to thank Peter and Dan for taking on the role of co-captains so that they can mentor the younger members of the squad who will likely be a mix of players on the cusp of selection at state or international level.

“Over the coming weeks, Peter and Dan will assist me in finalising our squad to take on Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval next month.

“After the victory over South Africa last year, I’m confident we can record consecutive victories for the first time since 2006.”

Cricket Australia National Talent Manager Greg Chappell said both players were well deserving of the honour to captain the Prime Minister’s XI.

“Dan has a wealth of leadership experience at domestic level both at home and abroad while Peter has displayed exceptional leadership qualities both on and off the field throughout his career,” Chappell said. “Both epitomise the Australian team values and we are delighted to provide an opportunity for both of them to lead this team.”


AFL

Narrandera’s Zac Williams had one of his greatest games since joining GWS on Saturday and was integral in helping his team withstand a furious Collingwood fightback to win their way into an historic maiden AFL grand final to be played this Saturday.

Watching from afar his Narrandera fans were on the edge of their seats and cheering loudly as GWS won by four points.

Facebook came alive with posts as locals joined in with celebratory messages and called for the town to show GWS colours this week in support of William’s amazing feats.

The underdog Giants led by a match-high 33 points almost six minutes into the final term, were dominating proceedings and would have thought the game was well in their keeping.

At that stage, the Magpies had kicked three goals in more than three quarters of football, yet somehow they almost conjured one of the most remarkable comebacks in finals history.

Giants narrowly hung on by an 8.8 (56) to 7.10 (52) scoreline in a classic encounter in front of a black and white-dominated MCG crowd of 77,828.

Richmond, the 2017 premier, awaits GWS at the same venue this Saturday.

Thrown into a midfield role in the absence of Toby Greene and Lachie Whitfield, Williams delivered. His power through the contest was crucial and he capped a 25-touch (16 contested) game with an opportunistic third-quarter goal. Williams proved one of the most influential players on the field and a Giants’ hero.

He is the son of Joy O’Hara of Narrandera who no doubt will be among the crowd on Saturday, along with other Narrandera relatives and fans.

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