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Newcastle teen basketballer headed for Virtus Global Games


Newcastle basketballer Mackenzie Wills has been chosen to represent Australia at the Virtus Global Games in Vichy, France, next month. 

The talented teenager, who currently plays for the Newcastle Falcons U/18 Girls Division 2 team, will represent the Green and Gold with the Australian Pearls, from 4 to 10 June. 

“Kenz” or “Mac”, as she is affectionately known, is a popular member of the Newcastle Basketball community, regularly coaching developmental programs and Aussie Hoops skills sessions at the Broadmeadow stadium. 

The 17-year-old can be found pulling her weight in the on-site canteen to help out, too. 

Mackenzie Wills is aiming to compete at the 2023 Virtus Global Games

Basketball is where she feels most at home, according to her mum Cheryl. 

Having played for what was The Hunters (pre-Newcastle Falcons era) until 2018, she’s now passed on her love of the game to Mackenzie, as well as Mackenzie’s identical twin brothers – yes, she is a triplet. 

And, it’s her daughter’s time to shine. 

With the help of her friends at Newcastle Basketball, she is hoping to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of competing at the Global Games. 

Determined to assist her young friend make the most of this opportunity, current Newcastle Falcons player Nicole Munger has been promoting the cause and encouraging others to lend their support. 

On Monday 15 May, the total was a quarter of the way to its target, reaching a little more than $2,500. 

“Please consider purchasing tickets to the raffle to support her and her family in the costs of the trip,” urged Munger. 

“As well as the opportunity to win some unbelievable prizes, you’ll be helping Kenz and the Wills family get to the Games.” 

The Virtus Global Games is the brand name of the International Sports Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment. 

It is also a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee. 

Virtus has its sights on more involvement in the Paralympic movement at Paris 2024. 

“Did you know that even though they are an Australian national sporting team, Pearls’ players have to pay their own way to attend international tournaments?” says Munger. 

“At approximately $10,000 for Kenz alone, any donation will help this amazing young athlete and woman live out her dreams.” 

An online raffle has been set up at with prizes drawn and winner announced on 25 May. 

Prizes include a Jade Melbourne signed basketball (delivered in October when she returns from her debut in WNBA), a signed Canberra Capitals, Nicole Munger #33 game worn singlet, signed Nicole Munger game worn shoes, coaching sessions, Antojitos gift voucher, signed basketball by Newcastle Falcons’ Mens NBL1 Squad, and a signed basketball by Newcastle Falcons Womens NBL1 Squad. 

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