A rockstar reception really rammed home the importance of Wagga's NRL game for Jordan Rapana.
Kids took a break from their Mortimer Shield games to line Parramore Park as the Canberra Raiders arrived in town ahead of their NRL game against Newcastle at Equex Centre on Saturday.
"It was pretty intense but it is always good to come out to the country towns as you can see the kids really appreciate it," Rapana said.
"They don't get too many NRL players coming down here. It's very special."
Rapana hopes Equex Centre can become a fortress for the Raiders after scoring a 30-12 win over Penrith on their last visit in 2019.
And with another game locked in for next season.
"We are really desperate for that win now," Rapana said. "Last time we played here we came away with the win against a tough Penrith team a couple of years ago so hopefully that becomes a bit of a hoodoo and we can take a win away Saturday night.
"We definitely need it."
He also hopes the Raiders visit can keep inspiring the next generation of talent in the region.
"When I explain Canberra to people it's as a big country city and obviously a lot of the surrounding regions a lot of players are picked up coming through the junior Raiders recruitment so I think it is very important for the club not only keep building not only rugby league but the Raiders itself," he said.