Men of League Foundation calls for greater support

PLEA: Men of League Foundation (Tamworth branch) spokesman Ron Surtees and South Tamworth Bowling Club men's president Mike Whale. Surtees has called on  the league community to provide the foundation with greater support. Photo: Peter Hardin
PLEA: Men of League Foundation (Tamworth branch) spokesman Ron Surtees and South Tamworth Bowling Club men's president Mike Whale. Surtees has called on the league community to provide the foundation with greater support. Photo: Peter Hardin

The Men of League Foundation’s Tamworth branch has urged local league teams to support its upcoming charity bowls day and erase the widespread misconception that the organisation is filled with old men.

Ron Surtees, the branch’s spokesman, said Men of League struggled to receive adequate support because of that misconception.

“They have this perception that older people run the organisation,” he said.

“Certainly not. There are a lot of young people in the association.

“For instance [North Tamworth first grader] James Cooper comes regularly to our meetings … [top ladies league tag player] Kimberley Resch has been to support some of our functions.

“So slowly if surely if we can get to that stage [wider support] – more and more younger people getting behind the organisation – it can only continue to flourish.”

Early last decade, the Men of League Foundation was born out of a desire to establish a network that facilitated the rugby league community’s desire to help its own. But Surtees said the lack of support the Tamworth branch received was mirrored throughout the foundation.

“Right from the top – the annual and biannual conferences – this is a big bugbear. People even want to change the word ‘men’ and just call it People of League, which is understandable. But that’s the way it started. It’s just hard to change a brand.” 

Funds raised at the November 12 event at South Tamworth Bowling Club will go to “men, women and children of the rugby league community who have fallen on hard times”, Surtees said. It is the branch’s major fundraiser for the year.

“We’re hoping to try and get all the local rugby league teams – first division and second division and ladies – to be involved in this magnificent foundation,” Surtees said.

The morning event – which will involve teams of four – starts at 9am and includes a lunch sausage sizzle. The cost is $15 per person.