Canberra Capitals star Marianna Tolo with young fans (from left) Amity Simpson, 11, Sophie Van Essen, 11 and Indie Goodworth, 11, at the open clinic at Mackay Basketball Stadium on Thursday.
Canberra Capitals star Marianna Tolo with young fans (from left) Amity Simpson, 11, Sophie Van Essen, 11 and Indie Goodworth, 11, at the open clinic at Mackay Basketball Stadium on Thursday.

WNBL stars draw big crowd at last-minute junior clinic

IT WAS hard to cling to any negative feelings from Wednesday's WNBL opening night loss when the Canberra Capitals stars returned to Mackay Basketball Stadium on Thursday to the smiling faces of those they inspire the most.

The hour-long session, advertised at short notice, attracted more than 60 eager juniors and ran overtime to the delight of everyone in attendance.

Local fan favourite Marianna Tolo was swarmed by adoring young fans once the session was over, and the star Caps centre was more than willing to offer her time and take photos.

"It does make it worthwhile and the hurt of the loss a little bit less," Tolo said amid the swarm of smiling children.

"Because you can see you're actually making an impact and doing something good with your time. That's what it's all about, is inspiring the next generation - the next little Tolos or little Keely Frolings - the next stars coming up from whatever background or region."

Canberra Capitals star Marianna Tolo with young fan Jaimie McPhee, 12, at the open clinic at Mackay Basketball Stadium on Thursday.
Canberra Capitals star Marianna Tolo with young fan Jaimie McPhee, 12, at the open clinic at Mackay Basketball Stadium on Thursday.

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The Mackay product said she would not be "the person I am today or the player I am today" without taking advantage of similar clinics when she was a junior.

"Taking these opportunities to learn and be better is an invaluable experience so I think it's really important when you can give back," she said.

"Especially somewhere like Mackay where you don't always get a high calibre of athlete or professional sportsperson (visiting).

"For us to be able to do this today is really important for the kids. I think they had a great time and that's what it's all about."

Tolo's Capitals are next in action on Sunday, up against the Townsville Fire.

Tip-off is at 7pm at Mackay Basketball Stadium.



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