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A random email from a small Rugby League club in Papua New Guinea has led the Casino RMS Cougars from northern NSW to reach out with a helping hand.

Tobou is a village north-east of Lae in the PNG highlands, whose young players were in need of some football jerseys.

Tobou club official, Naisa Boga, sent an email to the RSL (Returned Services League) club in Casino, which sponsors the Cougars along with local cricket and lawn bowls teams in the town.

“He’s contacted us way back in late 2019 saying he had a lot of passionate junior Rugby League players there and wanted to see if we had any gear available to share,” Casino RSM Club Secretary-Manager Neale Genge said.

“At the time I was able to find a few jerseys, and since I’m a Life Member of the Newcastle Referees Association I grabbed some referee shirts as well.

“Lockdown happened due to COVID and it took forever to get it all together and send it off. We finally managed it but then we heard it had been held up by PNG Customs.

“Eventually things were all sorted and the jerseys got to Tobou and they’ve sent back photos and a ‘Thank-You’ message.”

The Cougars are a stellar example of responding to the needs of others.

The club not only won the NSWRL’s ‘Grassroots Club of the Year’ award for 2021, it picked up two honours from the Richmond Valley Council during NAIDOC weeks last year for their inclusion work with indigenous groups.

The Casino RSL also won the Clubs NSW ‘Fostering Grassroots Sport’ award for 2022.

“It’s a really great community here where no problem is too hard to try to sort out everyone lends a hand when asked,” Genge said.

“Sport plays a central role in life around Casino so it’s a unifying thing for all of us.”

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.