Brothers juniors help share the passion
LEARNING how to pass a ball, kick a goal or smack a six are just some of the basic sport skills that have made a world of difference for students at Hervey Bay Special School.
And they have an inspirational group of junior rugby league players to thank.
The Fraser Coast Brothers under-13 team, which plays under the Maryborough Brothers Junior Rugby League Club banner, has created a new initiative to help raise much-needed funds for special schools Maryborough and Hervey Bay.
With the help of several local businesses, the players on Tuesday held their first sporting gala day for Hervey Bay Special School to introduce themselves to the school community and pledge their support to raising money for the school's sporting facilities, equipment and programs.
The players are hoping to raise more than $20,000 this year and kicked off their fundraising drive with $2500 on Sunday, donated by business sponsors as a reward for keeping their opponents scoreless.
Brothers' player Braydan Rauschenbach, 13, said all 20 players, most of whom didn't know each other at the start of the season, have thrown their support behind the cause.
He said the gala day was a simple way for the team to share their passion of sport and make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.
"It's good to see everyone having a lot of fun and trying to be as good as possible," he said.
Brothers' players took to the Hervey Bay Special School sports oval yesterday to help 50 students try their hands at a number of sports, including football, hockey, t-ball, league and cricket.
Even skills that most teenagers would find easy such as hitting a t-ball or catching a football were tackled with immense energy and enthusiasm.
It was this level of commitment and co-operation to achieve despite their disabilities that was most pleasing for principal Ellen Cummings.
"We really value other mainstream students coming into our school to mentor our students because it makes our kids feel special and part of society," she said.
"It also is a really good buzz for the mainstream students because it makes them appreciate and reflect how lucky they are."
Rallying behind the schools has become a major driving force in the team's success on the field with Brothers the only undefeated side in the Bundaberg Junior Rugby League U13 competition this season.
But Maryborough Brothers JRL president Chris Burke said developing a strong club culture and helping young boys grow into good young men was every bit as important as tackling or passing.
"We're very proud of the team of young boys who have come together and as a club our main focus is on trying to get the boys perform to their best potential," he said.
"It's inspiring to see these young boys now passing that on to some of our more special needs members of our community and hopefully with the money raised they will be able to recognise their sporting potential as well."
Burke said Maryborough Special School's turn will be in a couple of months.
He hoped the sporting gala days would become an annual event.
People who would like to donate or sponsor can get in contact with the club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.