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Say hello to Bruce the Blue Heeler: he’s nine-weeks-old, cute as a button, the new best friend of the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues and wants to also be mates with every NSW Rugby League fan.

The NSWRL and the Blues have formally adopted Bruce as their official team mascot as they get ready to defend their State of Origin Shield in November and aim to become the first NSW team since 2005 to win three series in a row.

“I think Bruce is a fantastic addition to our team and I’m sure all our passionate fans will get behind him and cheer for him too,” said Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler.

“It’s been a difficult season as we’ve battled bushfires, floods and now a global pandemic over COVID-19. They say that a dog is man’s best friend and Bruce will certainly be a best friend for the NSW Blues and all our fans in these tough times. You might even say he’s Bruce the Blue Healer!

“The Blue Heeler breed is distinctly Australian and also stands for all the same qualities that NSW players do: mateship, loyalty, discipline and work ethic. I can’t wait to see Bruce around camp and I’m sure he’ll give all the boys a real boost when they come together to defend the Shield this season.”

Bruce currently resides at RuffTrack Farm at Riverstone in Sydney’s north-west after the NSWRL struck a partnership with the youth-based program that will see Bruce work as a ‘therapy dog’ with disengaged youth (13-17 years) to provide them with valuable skills to re-engage in the community.

Bruce will join the team for their Origin campaign for the three-game series in November with the NRL still to determine where the matches will be played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted an official team mascot that would help us to create a legacy for future generations of Blues supporters,” said NSWRL Head of Commercial and Digital Jodie Cross.

“We looked at global sports and what was really appealing about all the teams that have live mascots is the strong connection it creates between the team and the community.

“We want the whole of the state to get behind Bruce and the Blues. Having a mascot that is a much-loved dog whose traits are synonymous with the attributes of mateship, loyalty, discipline and work ethic is very fitting for the NSW Origin team and what it stands for.”

To reflect that Bruce truly is the people’s dog of NSW, the NSWRL has set up an Instagram account for him. You can keep tabs on Bruce at @brucehealer