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Merewether Carlton’s Dads & Lads Event tackles worthy cause


One of the most popular occasions on the Merewether Carlton Rugby Union Club’s calendar returns to Townson Oval this weekend.

The third edition of the Dads & Lads Event will see family loyalty pushed to the side on Sunday 21 May… all in the name of charity.

The annual affair is set to expand in 2023, too, with a women’s fixture – Masters & Apprentices – and a team from rivals Hamilton Hawks joining the program to spread awareness for mental health even further afield in the Hunter Rugby fraternity.

While the event brings peers, young and old, together on the playing paddock, it’s also a terrific chance to amass funds for a couple of worthy causes.

In 2022, due to the generous nature of sponsors, more than $10,000 was raised to support the Merewether Carlton Rugby Foundation’s Welfare and Wellbeing Program.

This time around, Beyond Blue is a beneficiary as well.

The Dads & Lads concept was the brainchild of club member John “Jocky” Wilson.

He founded the initiative with a number of aims in mind: to link generations of players, their relatives and the community to put mental health in the spotlight – and to open up dialogue on the subject.

“It is one of my and our family’s special days of the year,” participant Steve Wait said.

“Although it unifies fathers and their sons, more than that it brings all of us together… mums, girlfriends, sisters and grandparents, all the generations to create community.

“I believe it establishes really positive connections and opens the hearts of everyone through a game we all love and gives all of us lifelong friendships and bonds.”

Ollie and Marty Ryan. Photo: Stewart Hazell

Merewether Carlton Rugby Union Club president Luke Tresidder agreed.

“We’re all looking forward to the day,” he said.

“We’re proud to host an event that unites the Green, Merewether and rugby community around the central theme of mental health awareness.

“It is even more exciting seeing Dads & Lads incorporate our female players as well as the Hawks.”

The event will be played under Golden Oldies’ rules, which sees those over 60 years of age wearing red, yellow or purple shorts, which restricts them from being tackled… with an emphasis on fun.

Before the frivolity, the undefeated Greens face Southern Beaches at Ernie Calland Field 1 in round six of the Hunter Rugby Premier 1 season on Saturday 20 May.

Hunter Rugby

Premier 1

Round five results:

  • University of Newcastle d Wanderers 21-19
  • Maitland d Southern Beaches 54-14
  • Merewether Carlton d Hamilton Hawks 32-24

Round six draw:

Saturday 20 May

  • 3pm: Hamilton Hawks v Wanderers (Passmore Oval)
  • 3pm: Maitland v University of Newcastle (Marcellin Park)
  • 3pm: Southern Beaches v Merewether Carlton (Ernie Calland Field 1)

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