A five-metre long, three-metres high Sherrin, and 18 times the size of a normal football has been built for the northern Riverina town of Ungarie to honour its most famous export.
The $50,000 fibreglass ball, which has a steel skeleton, will be unveiled on Saturday atop a four-metre pedestal in an upright form as though ready to kick in honour of AFL legends the Daniher brothers Terry, Neale, Tony and Chris.
Structural engineer Aaron Wilkinson has gone from making handrails to fabricating a giant football. emerged from a Riverina workshop on Wednesday.
Four fibreglass quarters were moulded and attached together to form the oval shape.
A professional signwriter did the lettering which features ‘Ungarie, NSW, Home of the Danihers’ on the undersides of the ball.
Mr Wilkinson is thrilled with the football, which was trucked to Ungarie on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be recognised for years to come as opposed to another building or another handrail,” he said.
“It’s something for everyone to see.”
He’s not a footy fan, but Mr Wilkinson was driven by Neale Daniher’s plucky fight against motor neurone disease in working 20 hours a day to finish the project.
“I don’t barrack for anyone, I don’t follow anyone but when I heard about the Neale Daniher story I thought this has got to be built as soon as possible,” Mr Wilkinson said.
“It’s been go to whoa, countless hours, 20-hour days running on three hours sleep just to meet the deadline.”
A team of three worked on the football from last September at Whippet Engineering, Mr Wilkinson’s business in Nurigong Street.
The football had to be completed before the start of the AFL season to allow big names to attend the grand unveiling.
It will sit in Bing Wallder Park in the main street of Ungarie and be unveiled at 11am Saturday.
A celebrity football match involving a Daniher team against an all-star side, coached by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and featuring Brownlow medallist Paul Kelly, will be played afterwards at the showgrounds.
The Ungarie Advancement Group originally conceived the idea to honour the Danihers.
It then approached the local council, Bland Shire, which then sought $50,000 in funds for the big football.
The shire’s community relations officer Craig Sutton said about half the tally came from radio network Triple M with the NSW government and NSWAFL also contributing.
He said it was hoped the giant football would boost tourism to the town, like the painting of silos at nearby Weethalle had done since last July.
Triple M’s James Brayshaw and former Geelong forward Billy Brownless will be at Ungarie to promote the occasion on radio.
The network will have coverage on its Facebook page and a live broadcast on its Wagga and Griffith stations.