True Blues Give Farmers A Helping Hand
True Blues, including Ben Elias, Andrew Ryan, Les Davidson, Greg Florimo and David 'Cement' Gillespie, recently joined more than 60 ex-first grade players in helping boost the morale of farmers in rural NSW as part of Men of League's Tackling the Drought Tour.
The tour was the brainchild of former Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and South Sydney Rabbitohs hooker Joe Thomas, who was moved to do something after a confronting trip to some of the worst-affected areas in June.
"We were in Mudgee, leaving to go to Rylstone, when we saw a herd of sheep and cattle standing on dust, basically," Thomas said.
"We felt very sorry for them – we thought, 'Jeez, there's no food there for these animals'.
"And then we got to Rylstone and bought the newspaper and there was a big four-page spread about the drought, which was (confronting). I was very upset about the situation these people were facing.
"We went back to Sydney and started the process of moving towards this (past) weekend."
It took five buses to transport the ex-Australian, NSW and ex-first grade players were willing to help out, with the three-day tour including NRL skills clinics, barbeques and entertainment nights.
The tour visited Narromine, Gilgandra and Mudgee, and also stopped at Davidson's hometown of Dubbo, with the former Blues hardman encouraging everyone to become a member of the Men of League Foundation to ensure continued support for events like Tackling the Drought Tour.
"I think you're silly if you're not part of it," Davidson said.
"People that can afford it, jump on board. Help in any way you can."