BLUE, red and gold make up the playing uniforms of Irymple and Mildura, but Henshilwood Oval on Saturday will become a sea of purple.
Supporters of both football and netball clubs are encouraged to don purple in support of Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day.
Skyler Coghlan, daughter of Irymple co-coach Daniel Coghlan and wife Bianca, has been diagnosed with the rare form of epilepsy, and the football and netball club are throwing their support behind the family.
The brave family revealed their powerful story to Sunraysia Daily’s Laura Turner last Saturday.
What started as a small fundraiser has exploded through the generosity of the wider community, something Coghlan was extremely thankful for.
“I don’t know really know how to put it into words,” he said.
“For Nick (Pezzaniti) and Tom (Brownbridge) to organise everything really has been amazing. It started off that it was going to be a little surprise but over the past week or so to see what’s happened, they’ve had to order more raffle tickets and reorder more merchandise. I’m kind of stuck for words, to be honest.
“And for the Mildura Football and Netball Club being willing to put up their hand to support it is fantastic. Hopefully this is something we can maybe build on.
“We all have fun and enjoying playing footy, but sometimes there is more to it, and you can just see how big it is in the community that we’re all there to support each other in all these causes.”
Opposing coach Sam Kerridge said Saturday is an opportunity to recognise something bigger than sport.
“Footy is a privilege that we go to play but there are things out there that are much much more important, and I think this weekend is a fantastic opportunity for the Mildura and Sunraysia community to get together and create some awareness and support for a beautiful family,” he said.
While the cause is the most important aspect of the day, the senior football contest itself could be pivotal in how the season plays out.
Both teams hold a 6-3 record and occupy third and second place on the ladder respectively.
“I think if you had said at the start of the year we’d be sitting roughly in this position, we would have taken it,” Kerridge said.
“We’ve worked really hard to get where we need to and obviously we’re at the halfway point now which is really exciting, but it’s going to be an interesting and tough back end of the year.
“I’m honest when I say that it’s outstanding that the league is so tight across those top six spots.
“It’s obviously been a decent first half of the year, I think we’ve come into our own and started to nail our game plan.”
Like Mildura, Irymple have given numerous opportunities to young players who have grabbed it with both hands so far.
“Over the last couple of years you probably don’t notice the one or two games they have played to give them that little taste which gives them that drive, which just shows as the year goes on when they get those opportunities they can take it,” Coghlan said.
“Especially this first half of the year when we’ve had a few injuries and a few others out of the team.”
Raffle tickets and merchandise for the Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day are available at Henshilwood Oval.
Head to the Irymple Football and Netball Club Facebook page for further details.