SINCE attending an AFLW Junior Clinic at Casey Fields in January, six-year-old Saanvi has fallen in love with the game of Australian Rules Football.
A first-generation Australian from an Indian background, Saanvi’s next step was seeing the game up close with her family at Casey Fields.
Her family didn’t miss an AFLW game at Casey Fields all season, with Saanvi even taking part in the pre-game clinic and Guard of Honour prior to Melbourne’s Round 1 match against Fremantle.
And once Saanvi got home after the Round 1, she couldn’t wait to get into the backyard and have another kick of the footy, while asking her father Saurav to thank the club via email.
Saanvi’s father, Saurav, said the club’s connection with the greater Melbourne region, as well as the City of Casey, made the red and blue a natural fit as a team to support.
“To me, Melbourne Football Club has the name of the city we live in. Being from Casey, that made me think Melbourne is the local club here,” Saurav told Melbourne Media.
“What the club has done for Saanvi is encourage her to follow the game.
“With her getting a guernsey and coming along to do the guard of honour, these are small things, but it has a big impact on her as a young child.”
After catching the summer of footy at Casey Fields, Saanvi and her family will now have the chance to experience a game at the MCG, with The Welcome Game taking place this Saturday.
Saanvi has been selected as the club’s Junior Mascot for the match and will lead the side out along with Nathan Jones and Jack Viney.
Having lived in Melbourne for 15 years, Saurav hailed The Welcome Game’s impact in linking migrant communities to a key part of the city’s culture in the game of footy.
“In terms of having The Welcome Game – which promotes inclusiveness, promotes diversity – it doesn’t get any better for us, coming from a different nation and supporting a game, coming and getting to know the club,” Saurav said.
“With the game being promoted by the club to join the club and sit with the club, and to understand the club, I think it’s a great achievement.
“Footy is a game which brings families together, it brings friends together. It’s one topic which everyone in Melbourne can talk about."