PORT Macquarie Pirates hope their donation to rugby clubs north-west of the Mid-North Coast impacted by the drought will be the starting point for other clubs to follow their lead around the state.
With the help of The Westport Club, Pirates have agreed to provide a donation of $2000 to clubs in the Central North Rugby Union competition.
The money will go towards covering the annual membership fees of players for the 2020 season.
It will slightly lessen the financial burden for players in clubs at Barraba, Gunnedah, Inverell, Moree, Narrabri, Tamworth, Quirindi, Walcha and Scone.
Pirates committee member Rob Harris said a lot of the towns in those areas had been very badly affected by the drought.
"This donation will enable people to continue to play rugby union where the annual membership fees might have presented a barrier in such difficult times," he said.
"Sport is a leveller and I used to play against Walcha and we thought why don't we do something and help with the clubs across the range.
"It might be the difference between them playing and not playing football."
Harris also called on clubs and pubs who sponsor their local teams to also become involved.
"The common denominator with sport not just on the coast, but in the city or over the range is either a club or a pub get involved," he said.
"Then we can make sure the money gets there to help these players to play sport."
It is hoped the financial help will also help in other ways.
"There are a lot of mental health issues over there and the last thing we want to do is put a label on it," Harris said.
"But by doing this we'll circumvent that mental health issue and the players will feel like they're wanted and belong to a club."
He called on other rugby clubs throughout NSW - especially those in Newcastle, Sydney and the Illawarra) to also join in.
"It will enable players from drought affected areas to continue to play the game they play in heaven," he said.
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