Cobras, Greyhounds meet for River’s Gift

Ocean Grove Cobras' Aaron White and River's Gift's Karl Waddell are interviewed by Channel 7's Sunrise. (supplied)

The annual State of Origin concept between Ocean Grove Cobras and Glebe Greyhounds junior football clubs just keeps getting bigger.

Each year the Cobras and the inner Sydney-based Greyhounds take turns hosting a weekend of footy games to raise money for River’s Gift, a local charity supporting Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) research.

The State of Origin was founded by two school mates, Cain Sarah now living in Glebe and Harvey Stephenson from Ocean Grove, who got chatting while they were celebrating Christmas together six years ago.

A few beers in, they hatched a plan: to have their sons, separated by border lines, play against each other in a footy trip. They would raise money for their other school mate Karl Waddell’s charity, River’s Gift, established after the death of his son.

This year it was the Greyhounds’ turn to host and a contingent of about 250 Cobras made the trip north. Footy games are just part of the fun and strong friendships have been formed over the years.

“The overall weekend was a massive success, great fun for everyone and a brilliant time raising funds for River’s Gift as well as two communities coming together,” Cobras State of Origin coordinator Aaron White said.

While the final tally won’t be known for some time, Mr White said they hoped to have raised about $35,000 to $40,000.

The event attracted the interest of Channel 7’s Sunrise program, which did a live cross to Glebe.

“Having Sunrise there on the Sunday morning was absolutely brilliant,” Mr White said.

“And they all think that they are Hollywood superstars who have been on TV for three seconds.”

GWS captain Toby Greene attended and the Cobras got to go to Carlton’s Friday training session.

Blues star Sam Walsh was a junior Cobra and gave his time much to the delight of the kids.

“The way he (Greene) interacted with those kids – the bloke is a gem,” Mr White said.

“He knows grassroots, he knows where his support comes from and it’s not from adults, it’s from these kids and the example that he’s setting for these kids off the field. The poor bugger has probably got arthritis from so many autographs and smiling so much having photos.”

For the record, Glebe won the trophy back from the Cobras, but the results are probably the least important thing. The Cobras are already planning to host next year’s event.

“It’ll be back on our home turf because, unfortunately, we lost both the parents’ trophy and the state of origin trophy this year to Glebe in what was a wonderful battle,” Mr White said.

“They definitely had home ground advantage and the talent that’s being produced out of NSW and the Greyhounds is really starting to match up against their own down here in Victoria, so we’re really looking forward to them coming back down to our home turf for us to hopefully get a win.”

Mr White paid tribute to Pretty’s Prime Cuts Kingston Village and Hodges Real Estate for sponsoring the event with every cent going to River’s Gift.