Tea Gardens Hawks feature in Origin pre-game show

Hawks members watched from the Tea Gardens Hotel, as Ryan Saunders featured in the nationally televised pre-game footage.

CELEBRITIES walk among us, with the airing, on national television, of State of Origin pre-game footage shot right here on the Myall Coast.

The Wide World of Sports visit to Myall Park a few weeks ago resulted in footage featuring the Tea Gardens Hawks RLFC, among many other local footy clubs across NSW and Queensland.

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The reel opened with footage of the Hawks Women’s Tackle team deep in training, then featured the voiceover and visage of the Hawks’ own Ryan Saunders, stating simply, “Rugby league’s life”.

Watching live, the Tea Gardens Hotel erupted with members of the Hawks Rugby League Club celebrating the instant fame.

Tea Gardens publican Ben Hanson then appeared, reminiscing about the beloved game.

“As a kid growing up, it’s in your heart, in your soul,” he said.

“To represent in that jersey is every kid’s dream,” came the voice of Leah Saunders, against a background of dramatic music and Origin highlights.

The reel too-soon ended, circling back to Ryan again for final testimony.

“Grab it with both hands and… go hard!” he said.

Instantly, friends and club members who were actually in Accor Stadium in Sydney, which holds over 80,000 people, reported via social media that the whole pre-game clip was featured on the big screen.

The footage itself would have been seen by between three and four million people across the east coast.

Ryan’s instant fame triggered a deluge of autograph requests from all over social media – however, one lucky hotel patron scored the first actual one.

Plenty of unsolicited advice on how to manage his newfound fame came in from across the Hawks men’s and women’s teams, too.

While the Origin I game itself was a supreme disappointment for viewers across the state, those at the Tea Gardens Hotel have been basking in the pre-game reel’s afterglow for days hence.

When asked about what he will do with his newfound fame and glory, Ryan simply responded, “You’ll find me at Myall Park.”

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Ryan Saunders signs his first autograph, basking in the glow of newfound stardom.

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