Garry Smith Memorial Challenge to help Men of League, farmers

The Canowindra Tigers will be honouring Tim Kennedy this weekend as they take part in their second Garry Smith Memorial Challenge.

The Tigers had an unlucky defeat in 2016 going down 34-4 to Gooloogong Cowboys in the inaugural challenge 

This year Canowindra will play Gooloogong followed by Cowra against Burrangong, with the respective winners of each game playing off for the Garry Smith Memorial Trophy. The losers will play a consolation final.

Funds raised at this year’s challenge will be donated to the Tackling the Drought tour by Men of League and Drought Relief NSW.

Challenge organiser, Danny Millar, said the day would be a fun family event that would bring the communities of Canowindra, Gooloogong, Cowra and Burrangong together.

“It’s not a big competition day, it’s just to get out there and play for a good cause,” he said.

“We just want it to be a fun family orientated day, where people can sit back, remember and pay tribute to the ones who are no longer here.

“We’re pulling all the guys together and letting (farmers) know we are thinking about them,” he said.

Mr Millar said the emotion of the challenge and the significance of fundraising for drought stricken farmers was not lost on anyone.

“It’s emotional for all of us, each team playing in these matches has lost someone and is playing in their memory.

“Canowindra will play for for Tim Kennedy, Cowra for Clint Slockee, Burrangong for Johnny Ryan and Gooloogong will play for Garry “Fox” Smith, Brendan “Nugget” Kennedy, Robert “Bob” Noble and Malcolm Ball.”

“The farmers are doing tough so they need to know someone is thinking about them,” he said.

“That’s what this is about, that someone is always thinking about you, don’t think you are ever alone.”

Gooloogong’s Captain, Matt Frazer, said he was excited about the day.

“I’m looking forward to it and most of the boys are, it will be good to have a run around,” he said.

“A majority of the side are the boys that played with Garry in the year he passed, we have a couple of ring-ins from Canowindra and Grenfell, but other than that it’s the same side.

“Realistically in my eyes the only reason Garry played that year was because I went and asked him,” he said.

There will also be a special League Tag match between Cowra and Burrangong on the day, with Mr Millar saying it was important to include the women’s game as well.

“Women are such a big part of the game these days,” he said.

“We want to bring them into the challenge as well because most of the women are either players, wives or girlfriends and when a tragedy happens, they are involved too.”

The 2016 challenge raised $10,000 for Men of League, a goal Mr Millar hopes can be repeated.

“We are hoping to get near 800-900 people this time and get as close to the total raised at the last challenge.

“Cowra as a town was really good then, we know things are little bit tighter now and it’s harder for people to give, but the support so far has been great,” he said.

Men of League will also be bringing a bus load of former and current players to make the day and it’s corresponding dinner a special event.

Some of the players attending include Malcom Clift, Kevin Thompson, Steven Edge, Neville Glover, Terry Regan, Stan Cutler, Ted Goodwin, Luke Goodwin, Bruce Walker, Bruce Starkey and Glenn Bourne.

There will be a number of raffles drawn during the day and exclusive signed jerseys going under the hammer.

The first match is at 11.30am. There’ll be bar facilities and a canteen as well as kids activities. Entry is $5, under 16s are free. Tickets for the challenge dinner are $50 and can be bought from LJ Hooker Cowra.