Menzies' Memories | Hogs Tour

After Brad Fittler documented the opening stages of Hogs For The Homeless, fellow True Blue Steve Menzies updates NSWRL.com.au on the time passed since.

The tour is now into its second week and we’ve covered plenty of ground, given away plenty of footies and hopefully brought plenty of smiles to the country towns we’ve visited so far. We picked it up from Forbes bright and early on Wednesday morning and reached Cootamundra for our first clinic 163 clicks down the road. We were impressed by the turnout of kids at a town home to just 6,000 people.

Pressing on to Laurie Daley Oval in Junee, we caught up with the great man himself. While the amount of kids was huge once again, myself and the rest of the team were pretty much left alone – they were only interested in Laurie! With the autograph queue going halfway out of town, we waved goodbye from a distance and headed south-west to Wagga for our final clinic of the day. Being a larger regional centre we were welcomed by hundreds, but most importantly every kid went home with a footy in hand once again.

We capped off Wednesday with a function and raised some more funds for Youth Off The Streets, notching up more than $18,000 for the day. Generally speaking we’ve all been overwhelmed by the generosity of people – one guy met up with us on Wednesday while we were having lunch, found out about the cause we were supporting and bought $500 worth of raffle tickets! When people learn about the complexities involved with youth homelessness – the common issues people face at home and other factors, such as drugs and alcohol – they’ve been all too happy to dig deep for the cause. That’s been very heart-warming to see.

Thursday was a longer day of riding and we kicked it off with a 100km ride from Wagga to Tumut. What was supposed to be a short meet-and-greet turned into an unplanned visit to Gadara School for students with intellectual disability. The school only had around 20 kids but there was one in particular who stood out to me; a teacher told us that one of the students just loves his motorbikes and talks about them all day so we put one of the Harley-Davidsons on blocks, sat him up there and let him feel what it was like to ride one. He absolutely loved it and it was touching to see the joy that we’d brought him through such a simple act.

From Tumut the crew moved through some incredible Snowy Mountains scenery to Cooma, where we held another clinic and had another fundraiser. We’ve since moved up the South Coast through Bombala, Batemans Bay and Bomaderry, passing through Sydney again on the weekend. From there it was further North to Muswellbrook, Gunnedah and Tingha, with plenty more money raised and fun had. All in all I’ve been pleasantly surprised by not only the generosity of people but the popularity of the tour – as well as the footballing talent I’ve seen in some of the kids. We’ve seen some great skills at every town we’ve visited and it’s pleasing to know that with the free footballs they’ve taken home, these kids are more likely to continue playing our game. The very fact that they can turn up to school tomorrow and kick the ball around with their mates at lunch time means that the future of New South Wales Rugby League – especially in the country – is in good stead.

In just under a week we gave away thousands of footies and raised tens of thousands more to fight youth homelessness; it’s tiring work, but something the whole crew is proud to be a part of. Next up we’ll head towards the NSW-Queensland border (without crossing to the dark side of course!) and will hold more clinics at Glen Innes, Tenterfield and Byron Bay.

To support the Hogs For the Homeless tour efforts to raise money for Youth off the Streets, click here.

Remaining Hogs Tour Dates

Tuesday, 23 February

11:30am

Tingha

Clinic

Tingha Public School - 54 Ruby Street, Tingha

Tuesday, 23 February

4:30pm

Glen Innes

Clinic

Meade Park - Coronation Avenue, Glen Innes

Wednesday, 24 February

9:30am

Tenterfield

Clinic

Tenterfield- Shirley Park - High St ,Tenterfield

Wednesday, 24 February

4:30pm

Byron Bay

Clinic

Byron Bay Clinic - Cnr broken head & Bangalow roads Byron Bay

Thursday, 25 February

4:00pm

Gloucester

Clinic

Bert Gallagher Oval - Boundary Street Gloucester

Friday, 26 February

10:30am

Cessnock

Rutherford Public School clinic

Weblands Street, Rutherford 2320

Friday, 26 February

2:00pm

Cessnock

St. Philip’s Christian College clinic

13 Edgeworth Street, Cessnock ,  2325

Friday, 26 February

4:30pm

Cessnock

Meet and greet

The Basin - Mt View Rd Cessnock 2325

Saturday, 27 February

10:00am

Central Coast

Central Coast Harley BBQ

210 Manns Road, West Gosford

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 29 February

TBC

Mounties

Sleep out

101 Meadows Road, Mt Pritchard

Tuesday, 1 March

TBC

Campbelltown

Clinic

Campbelltown Oval - Cnr Rose Payton Dr & Pembroke Rd Leumeah

Friday, 4 March

TBC

Brookvale Oval

Lap of honour

Federal Pde, Sydney New South Wales 2100