Record Men of League golf day in Gundy

More than 130 players teed off in Goondiwindi on Saturday for the annual Men of League Charity Golf Day.

Weather conditions were perfect for players, who before hitting the green, stopped for a minute’s silence in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

Because the day fell on November 11, not only were funds raised for Men of League but also Legacy.

Men of League Goondiwindi branch health and wellbeing officer Michael Steepe said the three-person Ambrose event was one of the largest on record.

“There were 135 players, those numbers are definitely up from last year,” he said.

Around 30 sponsors jumped on board the event this year to provide players with various raffles and prizes throughout the day.

Steepe explained that the Men of League foundation was first set up to help former players, their families, coaches referees and anyone in the rugby league community who may need it.

“Annually we raise money for the foundation and on a local scale we assist anyone affiliated with rugby league in Goondiwindi,” he said.

This year we had the bonus of hosting Ethan Lowe from the Cowboys.

Michael Steepe.

The local branch has helped mow lawns, assisted in an application for funding through the Men of League foundation and most recently helped a local family.

“There was a tragedy in Warwick recently and one of the families involved was from Goondiwindi so we reached out to them and showed our support,” he said.

In it’s fourth year, the annual golf day attracts players from all levels of golfing ability, however Steepe said the day seems to grow every year.

“It’s always a good competition and we have a lot of support from the community.

“This year we had the bonus of hosting Ethan Lowe from the Cowboys. He is originally a local boy so it was good to see him in Goondiwindi for the golf day.”

Local children who caught wind of the rugby league celebrity being in town headed down to the golf course.

“It was great to see the kids come up for autographs. At the end of the day we got Ethan to hand out some trophies at the presentation for players.”

Although the fundraising dollars are still being counted, Steepe was happy with the success of the day.

Men of League history:

On 11 July 2002, a meeting was held at the New South Wales Leagues Club to launch the Men of League Foundation.

The idea of forming the Men of League Foundation began with discussions between tough prop and then Judiciary Commissioner Jim Hall, Canterbury and Manly back Max Brown and ‘Team of the Century’ back-rower Ron Coote who all expressed concern for former players who were doing it tough. 

One of these Ron knew of was his hero Doug McRitchie, physically weak in a hospital on the South Coast of New South Wales.

Touched by this and other experiences Ron, Jim and Max held a meeting attended by 140 players, officials and referees. Men of League Foundation was born.