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The Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues will continue to build on a long-term promise of community goodwill, by delivering a special experience at Lismore on Tuesday 5 July to 1000 selected teenagers from flood-impacted high schools and Junior Rugby League Clubs across the Northern Rivers region.

The NSW Rugby League, NSW Police and Lismore City Council, have joined forces to stage a ticketed free event for the selected 14-16-year-old participants chosen from 10 schools from Murwillimbah to Lismore, as well as Junior Rugby League Clubs across the Northern Rivers region that were among the most affected in the devastating floods in February.

The selected participants, identified by community leaders as an age group heavily impacted by the disruptions and devastation of the floods, have been given the opportunity to watch the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues train as they kick-off their campaign to retain the Ampol State of Origin Shield in the Game Three decider of the 2022 Series in Brisbane on 13 July. 

Due to COVID protocols, numbers for the event around the training session had to be capped for the safety of participants and the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues players, with local Police and community leaders recommending children aged 14-16 years from the targeted schools and Junior Rugby League Clubs to be chosen for the opportunity.

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon APM said: “The whole community has been significantly impacted by the floods, in particular the children, many of whom have had schooling arrangements changed and reduced opportunities to play sport.

“NSW Police Force is proud to work with the NSW Rugby League and Lismore City Council to put on a Blues training session for up to 1000 school students from across the Northern Rivers region.  

“The session is about providing an opportunity for students to see their sporting heroes and lift optimism that the community is recovering. I commend the NSWRL, Freddy (Brad) Fittler and the Blues players for giving of their time to benefit the community.”

The visit will be the second by the NSWRL and True Blues ambassadors and is part of a long-term strategy and commitment to support the flood-affected Northern Rivers region. In March, soon after the floods, former Blues captain Boyd Cordner and fellow True Blues Nathan Hindmarsh and Steve Menzies visited the area for a BBQ and to assist with the distribution of essential items.

NSWRL Chief Commercial Officer Jodie Cross paid tribute to Marist Brothers Lismore and the NSWRL sponsor family, in particular Lion, for assisting in bringing the team to Lismore and ongoing goodwill to the community.

“Often when there has been a devastating event like the flooding experienced in the Northern Rivers region earlier this year, it is the aftermath where even greater impact is felt,” Cross said.

“We made a promise to the Mayor (Steve Krieg) when we visited in March that we would endeavour to come back to the community to ensure we have a long-standing relationship in helping the community to heal. We are there for the long haul.

“In a further show of support in addition to the Blues training experience, the NSWRL, together with our partner Lion, will also host an intimate dinner with the Mayor, NSW Police and those in the community who had played a major role in the recovery activities.”

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said: “I would like to thank the Blues and NSW Rugby League for their ongoing support for Lismore.

“When they visited Lismore just after the flood, they promised that the Blues would visit again before the third Origin game, and true to their word they are on their way back.

“These visits do so much for the spirit of our city. I know come Wednesday night when the Blues run onto the field at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, all of Lismore will be behind them. Go the Blues.”

Further to the visits in March and this week by the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues and True Blues, the NSWRL announced in March that it would provide a flood relief package worth more than $600,000 to assist Rugby League communities across NSW, particularly in northern NSW, which were devastated by the severe wet weather conditions.

The package covered competitions in Group 1, which are held in the Northern Rivers Region, and Group 18, which is a Junior Rugby League competition only held on the far north coast of NSW. In total, 30 clubs and 4700 players benefited from the package.

The package included a $300,000 fund to replace items including jerseys, shorts, socks, footballs, tackle pads and goal posts; the total cost of insurance of all clubs in the affected areas worth an estimated $217,380; and a $100,000 pledge to a whole of game fund in conjunction with the NRL and QRL.

Click here if you would like to donate to the Lismore City Council Flood Appeal.

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