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Green man tickled pink at win

Date

Ian Warden

Gang-gang

Aaron Vaughan, his nephew Jace and dog Logan, in his walk-in Raiders shrine.

Aaron Vaughan, his nephew Jace and dog Logan, in his walk-in Raiders shrine.

Footy fans everywhere will be left green with envy at the news that Aaron Vaughan, of Chisholm, has just won eight (eight!) tickets to this Sunday's National Rugby League grand final. The last tickets were sold on August 22 but now eight of these precious, priceless items have fallen from Heaven and into his lap. We all hate him, don't we?

But however envy-green we turn we'll never match Vaughan at his greenest. He is an extreme lime-green-wearing Raiders' fan and it was his demonstration of his Green Machine fanaticism that won him this enormous prize in a national competition.

Telstra went looking for the National Rugby League fan most connected to his or her local team and Vaughan won the tournament with the photograph you see here and with his slogan (every contestant had to have one).

''I think I came up with something like 'We're an eco-friendly house. Green all the way','' the very excited public servant bubbled to us yesterday.

He explained that as well as the living presences in his zany photograph (himself, his painted nephew Jace and his painted dog Logan, with Logan of course named after Raiders' star Scott Logan) there's a wealth of Raiders' merchandise and memorabilia.

''There's a signed Ricky Stuart shirt and a signed Josh Dugan boot,'' he pointed out yesterday.

''And yes, that's a Raiders' gnome. And Logan has got a Raiders' collar and a Raiders' lead. Believe me you can buy Raiders' anything. With me [laughing] it's probably all got a bit out of control.''

One spare room of his house, he confesses, is crammed with footie paraphernalia (mostly shirts) collected by him and his wife Cathy. She is, though, a fan of a different religious persuasion, fanatical about Wests Tigers.

It would have been easy, in my extreme envy of him, to hate Vaughan but in conversation he sounded like a truly lovely guy feeling truly grateful for his Heaven-sent stroke of good luck. The sheer opulence of the prize (he and his mates, who will include Jace and a Melbourne mate, a Storm fan who ''was in tears of joy'' when he was invited) almost defies belief. They're all being flown to and from Sydney, put up for two nights in a hotel and plonked down in prime seats in the stadium. A footie fan's dream come true.

And, joy of joys for Raiders fans like Vaughan, he and the even-more fanatical Jace (''He makes me seem almost sane!'' Vaughan chortled yesterday) will be there for Sunday's curtain-raiser, the Toyota Cup grand final. It features the bad, mean, green and machine-like Raiders versus Wests Tigers. Vaughan and his nephew will have the perfect excuse to dress in their lime-green finery and lime-green warpaint. They will be the most connected Raiders' fans in the stadium.

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