It's all about inclusion at Byron rugby club
FINALS hopes may have faded but Byron Bay will have plenty to play for when it hosts Wollongbar-Alstonville in its annual charity game in Far North Coast rugby union tomorrow.
This year Byron Bay has supported a cause close to its heart with funds going to Down Syndrome NSW.
Club physio Gemma Harvey had a son, Ethan Brock, born with Down syndrome almost two years ago.
Ballina parent Alexis Schnitger, who has a 10-year-old boy with Down syndrome, designed one-off jerseys for Byron Bay to play in today and they will be auctioned after the game.
"The players have been so supportive of Ethan and he's been part of the club for two years now,” Harvey said.
"It's all about inclusion and having a safe space for the kids; no one even looks twice at him and he's been embraced here.
"The design on the jersey has an arrow, the Australian symbol, which a lot of siblings and parents of children with Down syndrome have tattooed on them.
"It's really nice to raise awareness because there are a couple of kids in our rugby community who have been born with it recently.”
Injured flanker Craig Wallace will miss the game after a head knock against Lennox Head last weekend.
The loss put them out of finals contention but Wallace expects his team to finish the season well.
It is the fourth major fundraiser he has been part of during his time at the club; it started with pink jerseys for breast cancer, blue for mental health and an indigenous design last year.
"This one hits home with Ethan and Gemma; he's so full of life and Gemma has been looking after our bodies for years,” Wallace said.
"It's nice to be able to help other people out and it's always a big one against Wollongbar. We've struggled with consistency this season but we're looking at doing some damage here.
"Last week was our last finals hope but it doesn't mean we can't cause a few upsets over the next few weeks.
"Our biggest challenge is always retaining players for the next season but there's a few good ones sticking around this time so hopefully we come back bigger and stronger.”
Action at the Byron Bay Recreation Ground will start with a women's game at 1.15pm followed by first grade kicking off at 3.15pm.
In other games tomorrow:
Lennox Head takes on Grafton at Williams Reserve, Lennox Head.
Bangalow will host Ballina at Schultz Oval, Bangalow.
Southern Cross University plays Casino at Maurie Ryan Oval, Lismore.
Casuarina faces Lismore City on the Tweed Coast.
Byron Bay: 1 Jordan Elliott, 2 Dan Morgan, 3 Duane Pakai, 4 Ed Randall, 5 Will Aisake, 6 James Atkins, 7 Cooper Lau, 8 Courtney Raymond, 9 Tom Brooks, 10 Peter Gillespie, 11 Kristians Avotins, 12 Owain Roberts, 13 Jascha Saeck (c), 14 Mark Howard, 15 James Boozer. Coach: Jeff Watt.
Wollongbar-Alstonville: 1 Matt Wright, 2 Bill Johnston, 3 Benji Tiatia, 4 Andrew Ross, 5 Josh Galbraith, 6 Austin Markwort, 7 Justyn Keir, 8 Hamish Mould, 9 Louis Hollman, 10 Ben Damen (c), 11 Ryan Graham, 12 Alex Gibbon, 13 Matt Nean, 14 Vincent Chee, 15 Sam Kerry. Coach: Paul Jeffery.
Referee: Matt Clayton.
Lennox Head: 1 Angus Langfield, 2 Brad McGoulrick, 3 Jacob Carter, 4 Jorelle Yock, 5 Kurt Orlanno, 6 John Young, 7 Mackenzie Winchester, 8 Harry Bungate, 9 Abe Goldsmith, 10 Matt Birmingham, 11 Sam Fitzgerald, 12 Billy Goldsmith, 13 Martin McNamara, 14 Rhys Tatum, 15 Hugo Marks. Coach: Rob Fish.
Grafton: 1 Jack Anderson, 2 Zac Mason-Gale , 3 Dan Blackman (vc), 4 Adam Thompson, 5 Declan Collie, 6 Billy Whalan, 7 Tom Tanner, 8 Ed McGrath, 9 Dom Bullock, 10 Kyle Hancock(c), 11 Jayden Reti, 12 Luke Worthing, 13 Dwayne Duke, 14 James Fairweather, 15 Keaton Ingram. Coach: Craig Howe.
Referee: James McElligott.
Bangalow: 1 Sean Petrou, 2 Nick Jones(c), 3 Neil Moran, 4 Rob Wrightman, 5 Jock Craigie, 6 Jack Bensley, 7 John Turagabeci, 8 David Johnson, 9 Rowan Ozols, 10 Ben Farrow, 11 Sam Campbell, 12 Daniel Hill, 13 Adam Brien, 14 Benson Lockyer, 15 Will Warren. Coach: Tim Cohen.
Ballina: 1 Isaac Pratten, 2 Hayden Warneke, 3 Callum Turner, 4 Jakob O'Connor, 5 Marcus Lees, 6 Brad Brown (c), 7 Sylvester Fahamokioa, 8 Stan Lolohea, 9 Joe Jansson, 10 Nick Brydon, 11 Leigh Foster, 12 Daniel Cotes, 13 Tupou Lolohea, 14 Terry Ferguson, 15 Luke Simpson. Coach: Chris Hickey.
Referee: Will Palmer.
Southern Cross University: 1 Mitch Bird, 2 Isaac Penfold, 3 Pat Kelly, 4 Riley Spencer, 5 Dean Buchanan, 6 Steve Spinks, 7 Kirk Taylor-Brown, 8 Matt Murray, 9 Matt Anderson (c), 10 Will Hawkins, 11 Rhys Harrison, 12 Josh Wilson, 13 Matt McMullen, 14 Jake Henry, 15 Michael McMullen. Coach: Harry Witt.
Casino: 1 Craig Connelly, 2 Ben Collison, 3 Scott Kenny, 4 Callum McLennan, 5 Marcus Cusack, 6 Josef Lalabalavu, 7 Carl Tahatu, , 8 Ratu Vio Batibasaga, 9 Stephen Murchie (c), 10 Nick Armstrong, 11 Joseph Murphy, 12 Sililo Stavenow, 13 Harrison Cusack, 14 Korey Bennett, 15 Wilson Lovokuro. Coach: Doug Murray.
Referee: Graham Cook.
Casuarina Beach: 1 Robert Beacroft, 2 Daniel Heritage, 3 Abraham Buatava, 4 Chris Dowling, 5 Elisio Tagidrau, 6 Henry Bradford, 7 Ross Colvin, 8 Adam Leach, 9 Webb Lillis, 10 Casey Calder, 11 Josh Harman, 12 Rian Olivier, 13 Hiroshi Takeyama, 14 Graham Dodge, 15 Richard White. Coach: Mick Hall.
Lismore: 1 Greg Martin, 2 Cameron Bryant, 3 Ben Carroll, 4 Gavin Tulk, 5 Dylan Tulk, 6 Tyler Coveney, 7 Brenden Williams (c), 8 Angus MacDougall, 9 Jack Evering- ham, 10 William Fairweather, 11 Sam Nilon, 12 James Grubb, 13 Jake Lennon, 14, Perry Daly, 15 Andrew Sky. Coach: Ray Taylor.
Referee: Peter Brown.