Mates united in footy
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Clermont Battle of the Mines rugby league tournament has gone from strength to strength since its revival several years ago.
The event, originally started by the Men of League - a foundation that provides support to people from the rugby league community - has been taken over by Glencore's Clermont mine.
Battle of the Mines co-organiser Justin Barrett said it was his boss, Dawid Pretorius, who decided to restart the tournament.
"We (Glencore Clermont) decided to run it and start using it for awareness of mental health and raising money for the (RACQ) CQ (Rescue) Helicopter,” Mr Barrett said.
Mr Barrett said there were 12 men's teams and three women's teams registered to play in this year's clash and most of the players worked on mine sites.
"We've had big support from the whole area as far as sponsorship from mining companies and contracting companies goes,” he said.
The competition was about more than just sport, Mr Barrett said.
"We enjoy playing rugby league but we're about bringing people together, especially with the deaths in the mines recently.
"The competition is a way, we think, of bringing people that work in the pit together - getting a culture of looking out for your mate.
"That's why we're trying to promote mental health and to raise money for the rescue helicopter - because they do so much in the mining community to help us out.”
The tournament will begin at 9.30am and run until late, with three pools of four teams on the men's roster.
There are three games in each pool followed by a semi-final and a grand final, all on the same day. Three women's games are also played throughout the day.
"There's probably close to 20 games during the day with two fields running,” Mr Barrett said.
"It's pretty intense - that's why we have 25 players and we play with the masters' rules. They're only 15-minute halves.”
The event had received "overwhelming support” from the Central Highlands community, Mr Barrett said.
"It is an awesome day. Everybody's there for the right reason.
"It's just getting bigger and bigger.
"It's getting that big that we're probably going to have to look at starting another field up or running it over two days.
"We would really like to thank all our sponsors for their support.”
Mr Barrett also thanked Sally Crannage and Candice Mackie for all their hard work behind the scenes.