The Tasman Makos Family Fun Day was a chance for fans to meet their heroes and Nelson certainly made the most of it.
About 700 supporters watched this season’s squad train before getting the chance to meet, get signatures from, and battle their heroes in a gigantic game of tug-o-war.
Among the masses was eight-year-old Jenna Ross, with her signed rugby ball and a grin that lasted all day.
Having just started playing tackle for the Waimea Old Boys under 8 Makos, Jenna’s dad Richard said she’s obsessed and jumped at the chance to meet the big boys.
“She really loved interacting with all the players and getting their autographs and she’s a big James Lowe fan so she was wrapped to see him,” said Richard.
Jenna has been playing rugby for three years after following her big brother into the sport and says she is keen to play for the Black Ferns.
“She loves rugby, she’s always right into the scrum somewhere and she’s not afraid to get in there and mix it up with the boys.”
For a chance to watch the Makos in action Richard is taking Jenna along to Friday’s game, but from the Fun Day turn out it’s safe to say they won’t be the only ones.
Makos marketing manager Les Edwards says the day was an absolute hit with the home crowd.
“It was great so many people got the chance to watch them train as professionals and then go down, meet them and get signatures and selfies, it was a really fun day.”
Seeing the energy and support from all their fans before Friday is the perfect lead up, said Les.
“The players can obviously feel that the fans are really passionate about them as a team and it’s a really great way for them to start the week.”
And the Makos are looking to pull out all the stops on Friday.
“We’ve got real depth in our club rugby players and the super rugby players are coming back and assimilating nicely. The coaches have them fizzing for Canterbury.”
The Makos will kick off their clash against Canterbury at 7.35pm this Friday at Trafalgar Park, tickets are available at www.makos.co.nz.