The Narromine Gorillas claimed the Shifting the Stigma Cup on a day that was as much about raising awareness for mental health as it was about rugby.
About $15,000 was raised through Saturday’s jersey auction, raffles and donations.
“This is a great cause and one close to many hearts, and again the community of Narromine has shown great generosity,” Gorillas vice-president Mick Harris said.
It was the ninth straight victory for the Gorillas as they held off a gallant Yeoval Eagles side to win 35-7.
Dressed in retro charity jerseys that were auctioned off after the game, Narromine held all the possession and territory early and Yeoval were scrambling to keep them out. Three phases after a 70 metre break from flanker Bill Rybak, centre Charlie MacInnes was able to get one-on-one and execute a textbook fend to slice through and cross next to the sticks.
MacInnes was in again minutes later after locking onto a deft short ball from flanker Tim Allworth and the score was 14-0.
Weight of possession again went with the home side and Lachie McCutcheon, who was back in the starting side for the first time this year, ran a ferociously hard line close to the ruck and was over relatively untouched.
The Eagles drew on all their spirit and fight to rally early in the second half and were rewarded with an intercept try to fly-half Jake Monk.
Back in the hunt, Yeoval were able to starve the Gorillas of the quick breakdown ball and a real arm wrestle ensued.
But halfback Ryan Pratten and replacement Tim Gainsford both managed to get over in the final 15 minutes.
Dylan Ryan slotted five from five in his first game as goal kicker. Rybak, MacInnes, Allworth and Ryan were among the Gorillas best.
Harris thanked the Yeoval Eagles players for their support of the day, attendance at the jersey auction and their thoughtful donations.
The Browning family thanked the Narromine community for their ongoing support of the Glenn Browning Memorial Day.
From Saturday’s program:
“It’s 5 years on the 23rd July since Glenno’s death from Suicide. The Glenn Browning Memorial Day match has come about because the Narromine Gorilla Rugby Club wanted to do something for the former player, coach, committee member, sponsor and supporter. The club wanted to help remove the Stigma of Mental Health Issues and they wanted family and friends to come together for a day out, hence Beat the Breakdown became part of the Annual Rugby Calendar.
“Today is also about making an extra effort to engage in the moment and prompt people to think about or reflect about themselves, love ones, work colleagues and friends. It’s a gentle reminder of checking what ‘head space’ you or those around you may be experiencing. If we can encourage a person to talk and just as importantly, to look and listen for signs of someone in need, then we are achieving our message.
“The club has raised over $18,000 in the last 5 years and we ask that you continue to support the day especially the auction tonight with the funds going towards “Beating the Breakdown” charity that was set up in 2012. Money raised goes directly back into our local community.
“Another bonus that has come about from this event is the Father & Son match that is played before the main game. It just adds a warm & fuzzy feeling towards the day and creates great memories for many families and lots of laughs for the spectators. Thank you to all those who make the effort to have a run, it is a highlight for many sons to have a run with their dads and vice versa.
“Billy, Gabi, Hughie, Pippa and myself are very grateful and proud to be associated with the Rugby Club and for their on-going willingness to support Mental Health awareness. If we can help a person or family by acknowledging Glenno’s death so openly and helping to ‘Shift’ the stigma associated with Mental Health issues then surely that is a positive.”