For ASEAN Rugby League Board Member and newly appointed Philippines National Rugby League Vice-President, Reynaldo Nery, Sunday’s kick off for the third Estepa-Elefante Cup was a welcome reward for the past eight months worth of hard work collecting equipment and kits for the fledging Rugby League competition.
A player sponsor for the inaugural Estepa-Elefante Cup back in 2016, Nery took it upon himself in 2018 to launch the ‘Footy for Philippines’ collection drive, encouraging Rugby League fans from across Sydney to donate clothing, boots, balls and other equipment for the Rugby League communities in the Asian nation.
Starting with the Commonwealth Bank offices at Sydney Olympic Park and the Sydney CBD. DXC Technology and St Charles Primary School, the drive collected numerous jerseys, shorts, jackets, boots, balls and more from employees and students with groups like the NSW Referees Association, NRL Asia and Lumia also contributing kits or balls to facilitate clinics and competitions.
The donated items were cleaned, itemised and shipped to Manila with the adult sized items being provided to the Referees and the four clubs of the Philippines National Rugby League (North Luzon Hunters, Cavite State University Tigers, Manila Storm and Clark Brothers XIII) whilst items suitable for younger players were distributed between the village of Mabalact and the Tuloy Foundation Orphanage in Pamanga.
These deliveries haven’t been just one offs either, with the first from Rey hitting Manila in October last year, with the most recent being just before Sunday’s competition kick off, with the gear getting used almost as soon as it crosses the border.
Using players from the Clark Brothers XIII, many of whom grew up in Orphanages around Manila, Rey ensured that the kids in the village of Mabalacat, Pampanga and Tuloy Foundation Orphanage had the opportunity to not only use the new gear, but learn the rules of the code and the values of the sport; Commitment, Motivation, Support, Encouragement and Respect.
Rey’s contribution is just another example of the amazing volunteers helping spread the game throughout Asia and help embed ‘the Greatest Game of All’ into the region.