RUGBY league legend Brad Fittler, along with fellow greats of the game including Ian Schubert and Nathan Hindmarsh, are riding more than 5,000km through 24 regional towns in 10 days, to raise awareness for mental health initiatives.
Joined by the Harley Owners Group’s (HOGs), and with the support of Harley-Davidson (who are providing the bikes), the NSW Blues coach will help promote the importance of mental fitness and junior rugby league participation.
They do so via HOGs for the Homeless, one of the main programs of the NSWRL Foundation. Since its inception in 2013, the foundation has raised more than $760,000 for Youth off the Streets, helping support young homeless people.
This year, the tour has been spread over two weeks, with the first week covering north and north-western NSW, while the second week will take in south and south-west of NSW. It will include visits to schools, and football clinics.
“One of the things I enjoy the most about my job as coach of the NSW Blues is that it gives me the opportunity to connect with all our supporters from Bourke to Bankstown,” Fittler said.
“The State had a pretty tough time last year because of the bushfires and coronavirus and I missed not being able to travel around as freely as I have in previous years,” he said.
“I love being on the bike, getting around the great State of NSW, playing footy with the local kids and delivering some important messages about mental fitness to any communities who might be still doing it tough.”
Gus Worland, chairman and founder of Gotcha4Life, a not-for-profit foundation supporting mental health, is joining Brad on the tour, to deliver an important message about mental fitness in response to the difficulties regional NSW faced last year.
“I love going out with Freddy, the HOGs and all the team at NSWRL because not only do we get to meet some really fantastic people, but we get to talk about mental fitness,” Worland said.
“I believe if you look at the statistics, mental fitness is required even more in rural Australia. Through the clinics, we are able to raise the importance of mental fitness in a fun and engaging way which allows us to have those meaningful conversations.”
Harley-Davidson Australia/NZ have been supporting this ride since the beginning, with more than 90 per cent of those participating doing it on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
“Harley-Davidson ANZ is very proud to be a part of such an amazing initiative to raise awareness for mental health,” managing director Nigel Keough said.
“We believe one of the best remedies for clearing the mind is getting out on the open road, so we are glad we can provide the boys with the best transportation possible for the ride.”