From the Record: Barellan

Barellan Socks it to MND
A Country Club Standing Tall Against Motor Neuron Disease

Douglas Connor – 17th June 2017


When hardship strikes country footy clubs, country footy clubs strike back. This weekend, as Barellan take on the Marrar Bombers at home they also put up a fight against a much larger opposition; Motor Neuron Disease.

Over 2,000 Australians suffer from MND, with approximately two deaths per day as a result of the progressive neurological disease. MND sufferers over time lose the use of their limbs and the ability to speak, swallow and breathe. There is no known cure and no effective treatment for the disease. It is a problem very close to the hearts of the Barellan club, says committee member Anthony McDonald.

“Our club has been deeply affected in a number of ways by Motor Neuron Disease. We have lost 4 great club members through the disease, and this weekend we are trying to promote the fund and try and raise some funds for a good cause.”

Footballers and netballers from clubs across the Riverina and Farrer Leagues will don special playing socks as part of the SockIt to MND campaign. The club is hosting the annual MND day at the Barellan Sports Ground on Saturday and the committee hopes to pull in a big crowd to raise much needed awareness and funds to combat the disease.

One of the greatest contributors to the day are the Jamieson family, who tragically lost mother and wife Lorna several years ago to the disease. The family have campaigned bravely over the past few years in conjunction with AFL legend Neale Daniher’s charity Fight MND, which will benefit from the weekends charity proceeds.

“We will be wearing the socks provided by the MND Foundation, which our players pay for to add to the donation money. We are also having a raffle around the club to donate to the fund and there will be a variety of speeches to raise awareness about the cause throughout the day as well.” “We have had the day in the past, and it’s always been a real success.”

Club President Jeff Mickan says that he expects a big Marrar crowd to add to the success of the day. Mr Mickan added that the club has organised a hundred club and donation points around the ground to aid the appeal. A quick chat to the committee members, and it is clear to see how important a culture of ‘togetherness’ is to the club at this time.

“This year more than anything has been about a culture change within the club. Everyone has really started to get a bit more serious about their football and it’s a much more inclusive environment.”

In what has been a season of adjustment for the Two Blues, a positive change in attitude throughout the club is seen as vital for future success. People’s attitude towards the footy has changed, we have needed to become more competitive and that has meant changing the way we approach our football and the professionalism associated with that.”

“We have had some big changes this season on and off the field. We have got 5 new blokes from the Canberra leagues. They have come in at the end of last season, and they have had a real big impact. They have really gotten involved within the club and the community and it’s been a real positive.”

Mr McDonald says that the club’s netballers have been shining lights for the club in 2017. “The netball club has been very successful so far this year. Our B side is yet to lose a game this year and that whole side of the club is excelling.” “We are very inclusive as a club unit, we like to keep the netball and the football closely connected because we are all working for the same outcomes.”

Despite a difficult beginning to the season for the clubs’ footballers, Mr McDonald reports that spirits in the Two Blues camp are high and that the belief is there to be competitive for the remainder of the season. “Things are definitely starting to look up for the whole club, it’s been a tough start. We are looking for that first win in the first grade, the seconds boys have had one win and things are starting to look alright. We are focusing on becoming more competitive week to week and hopefully we should start to see a couple of better results.”

“The only way for us going forward is to continue to develop our club culture. We will see the benefit throughout the club and that’s when we will start to see those results on field.”

Mr Mickan said the club is excited at the prospect of going toe to toe with the league’s best this Saturday. “Marrar have been the team to beat all season. They have been at the top and unfortunately, we’ve been at the other end of the table. We will have to be at our very best to give them a good go, but it should be a tough match and we’ll give it our best.”