By Mark Heenan
Preparations are underway for State of Origin III between junior football clubs Ocean Grove Cobras and Sydney-based Glebe Greyhounds – their biggest battle yet.
This year the Cobras play host to Glebe Greyhounds at Collendina Reserve in three matches on Sunday 7 July.
The primary goal behind the interstate July school holiday junior football clash is about raising money for River’s Gift, which was founded following the death of baby boy River Waddell to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in November 2011.
The River’s Gift junior footy fundraiser came about through friendships across clubs with Cain Sarah of Glebe and school friend, Karl Waddell, the founder of River’s Gift charity and father to River.
Waddell, River’s Gift general manager, will speak to Ocean Grove Cobras and Glebe juniors before the match and display a video about the charity and how the clash was formed.
“I will address the group and let the young fellas know what they are supporting through with their efforts,” Waddell told the Voice.
Waddell will also present a shield at the end of the final match with points from the three games collated to determine the winning club.
Ocean Grove Cobras ladies’ day fundraiser held at Oneday Estate Winery on Saturday 22 June raised $5311.80 for River’s Gift.
Ocean Grove Cobras Junior Football Club president Shaun Stow was amazed with the fundraising efforts with both clubs contributing to River’s Gift.
“It is a fantastic initiative, we tried to coordinate the fundraising day around our ladies’ day – we thought there was a connection between the SIDS and ladies,” Stow said.
“We had a lot of donations in terms of raffles and we sold nearly 130 tickets for the day which exceeded any ladies’ day we have put on.”
Glebe Greyhounds help set up n ‘Glebe2Geelong Runathon’ fundraising page – with Glebe kids running 940km to raise money for River’s Gift – the distance from Glebe to Geelong.
It will be Glebe’s second trip to Ocean Grove after its first outing in 2017 with the inner Sydney junior football club to have more than 70 juniors to play across three matches.
“We will have 70 odd players across three different teams coming down – two years ago (we) bought the first team down and we had 22 kids (playing),” Glebe Greyhounds Junior Australian Football Club president Simon Tracy told the Voice.
“We will end up with 150 people all up (including support personnel) and most of us will be staying in the Ocean Grove holiday parks.”
In 2018, the Cobras players, family and committee members made the trek to Sydney to play on Glebe’s home turf – with two matches played.
Days before State of Origin II contest the Cobras juniors did a lap of honour at the Sydney Cricket Ground at the time of Sydney’s home clash against Geelong on 5 July last year.
Ocean Grove Cobras is the current holders of shield after winning the 2017 and 2018 clashes.
On 7 July, there are three matches – the first game commences at 10am for the Under 10s, Under 11s at 11:30am and Under 12/13s at 1pm at Collendina Reserve.