Men of League Foundation has celebrated their 15 years of caring for the men, women and children of the rugby league community with their 2017 Gala Dinner at Hyatt Regency Sydney.
The night showcased the Foundation’s charity work with the rugby league community and paid tribute to co-founder and Honorary President Ron Coote AM for his work in the Foundation over the past 15 years.
The theme for the evening was celebrating 15 years of rugby league Through the Eyes of Ron Coote. This saw an iconic rugby league moment from 2002 until 2016 selected by the rugby league stalwart. A public vote was conducted and the most popular moment was announced on the night as the 2015 National Rugby League All Queensland Grand Final.
The Foundation also showcased some of the wellbeing work conducted by the charity of rugby league to the 600 guests at the dinner. In particular, a highlight of the evening was an on-stage interview by sports journalist and Fox League presenter Yvonne Sampson with Mary Durose.
Mary Durose has been involved with rugby league for many years and has been a maternal, guiding hand to over 300 Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs players over 22 years. The most famous of these Bulldogs to be cared for by Mary is Queensland and Kangaroo icon Johnathan Thurston.
With Mary as a special guest of the Foundation, Johnathan was secretly crept in to suprise Mary at the and paid tribute to Mary throughout the night. “It’s very nice to see Mary. She was there from the beginning,” Johnathan said. “I thought my Mum had the best ‘spag bol’, until I tasted Mary’s ‘spag bol’. I used to look forward to that every Friday night,” Johnathan concluded.
The Men of League Foundation are currently assisting 79 year old Mary in her battle against mouth cancer.
The night also saw the Men of League Foundation announced as the Official Australian Charity Partner of the Rugby League World Cup 2017.
The partnership was announced by Rugby League World Cup 2017 Chairman Dr George Peponis with Men of League Foundation Chairman Prof the Hon. Stephen Martin.
Frank Barrett, Chief Executive Officer of the Men of League Foundation said: “I’m very pleased to partner our Foundation with such an iconic event as the Rugby League World Cup 2017. We have 40 committees around Australia and with Rugby League World Cup games being played in eight cities around the country, we believe this partnership has perfect synergy.
“The Rugby League World Cup presents a spectacular platform to demonstrate to both the domestic and global sporting community the wonderful work the Men of League Foundation does within our code. Each member of the Foundation is engaged and deeply connected to the wellbeing of their fellow rugby league enthusiast and we will be encouraging every Australian rugby league fan to become a member,” Barrett concluded.
Andrew Hill, Chief Executive Officer of the Rugby League World Cup 2017 said: “The Men of League Foundation plays a vital role in supporting those in need throughout the wider rugby league community, work that is only possible through monies raised by the Foundation.
“Our two organisations will work together on fund-raising initiatives and activations during the Rugby League World Cup to be played in all four corners of Australia.
“It’s our hope that the awareness and funds raised for the Men of League Foundation through this partnership will further enhance the support available to those who have contributed so much to the game but now need assistance,” Hill concluded.