Maitland Mustangs co-captain Andy Allen normally spends his time at the basketball stadium shooting hoops.

On Thursday, Allen traded basketballs for timber as he showed his skills off the court, rather than on it.

He was one of many volunteers giving up their time to lend a hand as the Maitland Federation Centre receives a Backyard Blitz style makeover ahead of the Australian Under 20 and Ivor Burge Championships next week.

The national championships start on Sunday and by then the centre will have a new multi-function room above the existing grandstand – only three days after construction started.

Work began on the project first thing Thursday morning and by lunchtime on Saturday spectators will be able to watch all the action from a different vantage point.

The Maitland Basketball Association were afforded this opportunity after a successful bid to the Tooheys New “million beers worth of favours” promotion. The Maitland Federation Centre will be the first of 16 community projects undertaken by the Tooheys New Crew in 2011 and project manager Paul Gillespie said he was looking forward to seeing the end product.

“There is nowhere else in the building industry that you get to do this kind of thing,” he said.

“This is the first one of the year and it will be a really worthwhile project that hopefully makes a difference here.”



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