An event to remember! Our annual Red & Black Foundation State of Origin luncheon was held last Friday at Norths Cammeray. This event is the club’s major fundraiser for our Red & Black Foundation. The foundation underpins the Bears commitment to Rugby League in our wider community and aims to provide ongoing opportunity and support to all our players, allowing for continued innovation & growth of the game.
Long time fan and member, Channel Nine presenter James Bracey did a superb job as the events emcee. Super coach Wayne Bennett captivated the audience with stories of Origin, the infamous cold dressing rooms at Bear Park and coming up against the Bears at North Sydney Oval during the early ’90’s. He spoke about seeing the picture of the Bears players all modelling in the famous Moreton Bay Fig Tree in the lead up to the semifinal series, commenting at the time that “they will never win it” and unfortunately, he was right. 
We sat back and listened to four mates, Billy Moore, David Fairleigh, Mark Graham and Gary Larson regale stories and dig into each other, while Greg Florimo heckled from the floor. Billy spoke about his first grade debut for the Bears where he pressured to get on the field after having spent weeks sitting on the bench. He finally got the green light, called for the ball and was knocked out within 1 minute of making his debut. A funny story for sure, but also one that reminds us of the need to get back up and try again the next time.
Jason Taylor is always a character when he gets a microphone and Bracey lead him through hilarious stories of his playing days with the Bears. His story about Mark Soden is gold and one you need to hear if you ever get the chance.
Delicious food was enjoyed, staring with peking duck spring rolls and arancini balls while we mingled, prawn salad or chicken skewers alternated for entree followed by lamb shanks or honey soy marinated chicken marylands for mains. Many a Bears beer or ginger beer was consumed thanks to our mates at Six String Brewing for donating the cans.
From our Harvey Norman Women’s team we had Sarah Togatuki and Nita Maynard and from our NSW Cup side Michael White attend. They made their way from table to table, chatting with guests about the 2023 season and selling raffle tickets to willing buyers. Both Nita and Sarah are in NRLW trainign squads ahead of the season kicking off next month.
In the live and silent auction,  guests bidded on NSW Origin Experiences, Signed Jerseys, luxurious stays, legends lunches, a team signed Bears ANZAC player worn jersey and so much more. All funds raised go to our Red & Black Foundation.
Thank you to all who attended and we look forward to making it even bigger again in 2024!

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