Rowan’s fascination with the Soward shuffle

Five-eighth Jamie Soward and Rowan Bateman pass on ball skills at WIN Stadium. Dragon Jamie Soward chats with Rowan Bateman of Aberdeen as the Starlight Foundation fulfils Rowan’s dream to meet Soward. Pictures: ADAM McLEAN
Nanjing Night Net

Most admire Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward for his precision kicking or on-field intuition, but it was a curious shuffle which first roused Rowan Bateman’s adoration.

Yesterday, the youngster from Aberdeen was able to ask his footballing hero all about “that routine” in his goal-kicking thanks to a wish granted by the Starlight Foundation.

Rowan, who has cerebral palsy, has always wanted to meet the famous pivot.

“The little dance move that Jamie does before he kicks tickles his fancy, and yeah, he just always adored him,” Rowan’s mum Leah Bateman said.

“My dad likes the Dragons and that’s where Rowan’s interest in the club probably started.”

Soward gave Rowan and his family a tour of WIN Stadium shortly after the Dragons’ final training session in Wollongong.

The family has also been invited by the Dragons to tonight’s clash with the Warriors.

“It’s pretty humbling knowing that I’m his favourite player,” Soward said.

“It’s such a big thrill for him and just to see him smiling and having fun is the aim of all this.

“He’s put a bit of pressure on me, actually. We need a win, so he just told me to relax and go out there and have fun.”

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