Benalla Saints pair get vicious for a cause

By Meg Saultry

Benalla’s Nicole Donald and Beth Lewis are about to get vicious on the football field - but don’t worry, it's all for a good cause.

The pair are set to travel more than two hours east to Healesville to line up for a Valley Vicious charity match later this month, where they will battle it out with the Sherrin in the Rett Syndrome Awareness Cup.

The Valley Vicious movement began as an online viral Facebook page, ‘Valley Vicious footy banter’, before lending its reach in fighting for a cure for Rett syndrome - a genetic brain disorder found predominately in females, affecting language, coordination, and movement skills.

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Asked to join in the charity match through an old high school mate, Donald also brought friend, colleague, and teammate, Lewis into the fold.

“We work together, play footy together, so it was a no-brainer for Beth to come and do it with me,” Donald said.

“I’m excited to have a fun game for a really good cause.”

Lewis was also enthusiastic about the opportunity to play in the one-off match and said fans should expect the unexpected.

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“I’m looking forward to having fun on the footy field, where I can throw a cartwheel in there while I'm about to get tackled. I can’t wait to trick the girls, and then take off,” Lewis said.

Though despite all the fun and frivolity surrounding the day, Lewis said there would still be a thrilling contest on show.

“When you do have a footy in your hand, you can’t help but be competitive, so it will be competitive,” Lewis said with a laugh.

After coming to the sport later in life through the Benalla Saints Women’s team, Donald and Lewis agreed football had bought about many new opportunities, and friendships, for the pair.

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“It was great meeting the new (Valley Viscous) girls. You’re able to share that common thing of football,” Donald said.

“We haven’t really played with other girls apart from the Saints, so this was going outside our comfort zone.

“But doing something like this and getting into a club in Benalla is the best way to get out there and meet new people,” Lewis said.

“Just through going down to training, I wouldn’t have met half the girls on the footy team,” Donald said.

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Donald encouraged locals to get behind the important initiative, with a carnival-like day planned for those who attend.

“It would be great for people to come down to support us, it’s a really nice drive down there,” Donald said.

“There is going to be a few thousand people there. It's going to be a really good atmosphere because everyone who is going is going for this cause.

“There is that feeling that we are doing something for someone else.”

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A netball match kicks off proceedings from 2 pm before the women hit the field from 2.30 pm. Rounding out the day’s entertainment is a men’s match from 5 pm.

Other activities include Auskick, food vans, kids’ amusement rides as well as a bar, DJ and band.

● The Rett Syndrome Awareness Cup will be held on Saturday, February 29, at Healesville Sporting Complex. Gates open at 12 pm. Cost of entry is $10 per person, while children under 16 get in free.

Raffle tickets are available for $5, with over $2000 worth of prizes on offer, including a kids' cubby house and a Milwaukee drill package. Drop by Delatite Pumps and Irrigation to purchase tickets.

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