In a society that can sometimes belittle the prevalence of men’s mental health, the Tumut Rugby League Club and secretary Sue Bristow want local blokes to know it is okay to ask for help.
“We want people to be able to find a mate and have someone who can listen,” she said.
“Everyone has issues and opening the channels for someone to talk and listen is what we want.”
The Blues made some progress in this troublesome area on Saturday night by auctioning off unique, The Mindset Project jerseys, which were worn against Gundagai on Saturday.
Club Tumut was packed with Blues and Tigers fans alike, along with other community members, all interested in giving towards an important cause.
The evening was a rousing success with all 20 jerseys snapped up and 50% of the money raised going towards the Gotcha4life foundation.
“We raised just under $12,000 and half of that will go on and assist men who are struggling,” Sue said.
The Gotcha4Life Foundation has been established with the fundamental aim of helping save the lives of men throughout Australia and their goal is to positively engage and significantly impact men’s mental health.
Sue wanted to highlight why the Blues chose Gotcha4life.
“Men’s mental health has that stigma about it and we need to change it soon,” she said. “We need to start those conversations so we can raise awareness and intact social change.”
In a region that has suffered the loss of prominent young men in recent years, it seemed almost fitting that the Tigers and Blues played on the day of this auction.
The Tigers and the local communities lost their much-loved mate, Joey Rose late last year.
Just before the Blues and Tigers played on Saturday, Joey’s father, Steve Rose, delivered a heartfelt and moving speech to the teams.
Blues president, Bryan Black believes the message really sunk in for both sides.
“Steve Rose spoke with the boys before the match and you could’ve heard a pin drop afterwards,” he said.
“It just emphasized home how important these days are for the community.”
Bristow echoed Black’s sentiment.
“If we can help just one person with everything we have done then it has been worthwhile,” she said.
In a touching tribute, the Tigers went to try and buy Dean Bristow’s jersey but just missed out.
The Blues have since organised a jersey for the Tigers and will sign it and hand it over as a gesture of what this occasion is all about.
Bristow’s jersey went for a staggering $1,810 to Blues supporters, Marcus and Angela Damm.
Other jerseys to generate some good-spirited bidding belonged to Jed Pearce ($1100), Ben Roddy ($840), Jacob Toppin ($700), Jordan Anderson ($660) and Michael Clarke ($640)
Tumbarumba local and Tumut under 17s coach, Jon Burgun was the lucky bidder on the jersey of former Greens’ and current Blues’ playmaker, Jordan Anderson.
“I have great respect for Jordan as he plays tough, injured and gives his best every week,” he said.
“He also takes time to check our boys results.”
Burgun’s bid on Anderson’s jersey was also motivated by personal reasons.
It’s a great cause mate and a worthy donation after having suffered myself from mental illness,” he said.
The overall success of the evening will hopefully highlight to any person in the region that if you are struggling to find someone to chat with, any Blues’ player or, supporter for that matter will lend you an ear.
You just need to ask!