Community Football Clubs from across NSW to be honoured at State of Origin for Bushfire Relief Match

The bushfire affected communities of NSW will firmly be in the minds of the AFL’s biggest stars during Friday night’s State of Origin Match for Bushfire Relief at Marvel Stadium.

On Wednesday at the RFS in Victoria, Sherrin and the AFL revealed a custom-made match ball for the Victoria vs All-Stars clash, with the Sherrin coloured orange to honour the colour worn by State Emergency Service workers.

Each ball will also feature the names of clubs from the 230 towns ravaged by bushfires, including NSW/ACT clubs the Batemans Bay Seahawks, Bay and Basin Bombers, Bega Bombers, Bermagui Breakers, Bomaderry Tigers, Broulee/Moruya Giants, Eden Whalers, Merimbula Diggers, Narooma Lions, Nowra/Albatross Vikings, Pambula Panthers, Shoalhaven Giants, Tathra Sea Eagles and Ulladulla Dockers – each who have recently received a donation from the AFL to assist with getting their clubs up and running for their 2020 season.

All proceeds from the fixture, as well as the AFLW curtain-raiser between Collingwood and Melbourne, will go to the assisting those bushfire affected communities through the AFL’s Community Relief Fund.

AFL NSW/ACT will have a number community footy representatives at the game who have been affected by the fires, including Arlo, Bec, Sullivan and Harper Ireland, Heath and Jaimie Petterwood, Nicole Crowe, Andrew Goode and Dave Boulton.

Andrew Godde, who has been part of the Rural Fire Service for 35 years and is a current unit captain of Culcairn North West in Southern NSW, will present the medal to the player judged best on ground.

President of the Culcairn Football Netball Club, Goode was instrumental in the firefighting efforts across Southern NSW over the December and January periods and was the driver of the fire truck that flipped when a ‘freakish weather event’ lifted it from the ground in the Green Valley blaze in Jingellic, 70 kilometres east of Albury.

His fellow firefighter Sam McPaul tragically died in what the NSW RFS described as a ‘fire tornado.’

Junior Football Coordinator of the Batemans Bay Seahawks, Jaimie Petterwood will be part of the official match function as a guest of the AFL. Petterwood’s involvement with the footy club is a family affair, with husband Heath holding the position of President and their sons on the playing field. Both Jaime and Heath have been instrumental for the Batemans Bay community in the recovery since the fires, bringing the club and community together through events, organising property clean ups and providing support to those who lost everything.

AFL Sapphire Coast will send a bus down to Melbourne for the event, which will include 14 Auskick players (and their parents) from clubs such as Bay and Basin, Merimbula, Eden, Bermagui and Bega, who will all play at half-time of the State of Origin clash.

Friday’s State of Origin, the of its kind since 2008, will feature 54 players from across the competition, with Grand Finalists the GWS GIANTS having the equal biggest representation with six players named.

New GIANTS skipper Stephen Coniglio (All-Stars) will have five of his teammates – Coleman medallist Jeremy Cameron, Nick Haynes, Lachie Whitfield, Josh Kelly and Toby Greene lining up for Victoria.

The Sydney Swans will be represented by Callum Mills (All-Stars), Jake Lloyd and Tom Papley, who will both be donning the famous Big V.

AFL NSW/ACT will be represented by five local players, with Taylor Walker (Broken Hill), Tom Hawkins (Finley), Luke Breust (Temora), Issac Smith (Wagga Wagga) and Callum Mills (Sydney) all named in the All-Stars squad.