State of Origin greats, North Sydney Bears legends, corporate partners, members and fans came together last Friday at Norths in support of our Red & Black Foundation and what a fantastic event it was! The room was buzzing with rugby league chatter, Bear Park Brews by Six String Brewing, rum-infused cold pressed coffees by Twenty Five Four and wines by Molly’s Cradle were proudly featured on every table and our major partner Norths served up a scrumptious three course meal. Our emcee and huge Bears supporter, James Bracey, lead guests through the event kicking off with a panel of ex-Bears featuring David Fairleigh, Mark Graham, Greg Florimo and Jason Taylor. The boys regaled tales of their time in the Red & Black and their own personal experiences with State of Origin, including Jason Taylor’s stress of being named in the Blues side in 1993 as only a youngster aged 22.

Entrees were served, and rock star comedian Jim Jefferies jumped on the mic for an impromptu skit that had the crowd in stitches. Next up was a panel of four rugby league legends who had a combined State of Origin experience of 70 games, Cooper Cronk, Billy Moore, Trent Barrett and Steve Menzies. Bracey deep dived into their playing days, discussed the magic of origin and how the series really is the best of the best in league world wide. Cronk discussed that the best origin player’s he has played with and watched were the risk takers, the one’s who played on instinct and didn’t hesitate when in the moment, they tended to be the players who had a gambling nature too. Moore explored the fervour that runs through you when selected to play for your state and although on any other given Sunday you may be mates on the same team, when it came to Origin a rivalry struck to the core. All agreed that Origin was the toughest stage of rugby league in the world. Event guests were captivated by the speakers and hung on every word. To lighten the mood as mains were eagerly devoured, Andrew from comedy duo The Professor and Barney, performed a stand up sketch that delighted the room. A live auction of five amazing, money can’t buy experiences was expertly performed by Paul Chippendale and all prizes were eagerly snapped up by the event guests.

Although the event was a great opportunity for like-minded people to gather and talk all things footy and the Bears, the main objective was to raise funds for the club’s Red & Black Foundation. The North Sydney Bears established the Red & Black Foundation in 2020, underpinning the Bears commitment to rugby league in our wider community. The Foundation aims to provide ongoing opportunity and support to all our players, enhance both our male and female pathway programs, provide high performance facilities with access to the best coaching & support personnel and strive for continual innovation in rugby league. 2022 saw the introduction of our first female junior representative team in the Tarsha Gale Cup and this achievement is testament to the work done by the Red & Black Foundation.

The event raised over $65,000 for the Foundation and we say a huge thank you to everyone who purchased a ticket, bid on a live or silent auction, donated prizes, bought raffle tickets and tapped on our direct donation mobile tap point. You can still donate directly to the Red & Black Foundation and all donations of $2 or more are tax deductible via the Australian Sports Foundation. Click HERE to donate today and save on your tax bill this EOFY!

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