RUGBY league, like many other sports, has a way of bringing people together in the face of adversity and that was no more apparent on Saturday as the Jamberoo Superoos travelled to Gundagai.
Although it was pegged as a 'trial match' for three of the Superoos sides, the day meant much more to everyone than just that.
The day marked the inaugural Joey Rose Cup, in which his two clubs - Jamberoo and Gundagai - went toe-to-toe in his name, following Rose tragically taking his own life last October.
"When it [Joey's passing] happened, I think it was assumed that Gundagai and us would do something to remember him by," Superoos first grade captain/coach Jono Dallas said.
"A day of trial matches made sense, as we all know how important a support network can be, which can only grow by being at a footy club.
"So when we got things rolling, I thought it was appropriate for the first one to be in Joey's hometown of Gundagai, which would make it easier for his family and local community to be involved."
Although Joey and his partner Chelsea Tout only moved up to the Jamberoo club together at the start of 2018, they both made really strong bonds with everyone at Jamberoo.
"Both Joey and Chelsea know what it's like to be part of a successful footy club - they didn't just show up and games and leave, they got heavily involved in all the social activities and always helped out around the club when needed," Dallas said.
"They both resonated with a lot of people at the club in a short amount of time.
"By starting this annual tradition, we wanted to not only pay our respects to Joey but also support our friend Chelsea and her family."
Because of this, both the Superoos and Tigers thought it was important the day included women's league tag, as well as rugby league.
"All the women at our club wanted to be involved in the day," Dallas said.
"The turnout from both women's clubs was amazing, with Chelsea playing a half for both sides, which was very fitting."
In terms of the actual rugby league matches, Dallas admitted the result on the day took a back seat to the event itself.
"Neither club really approached it as a trial, rather just going out and having a bit of fun playing rugby league - just as Joey would of wanted us to," Dallas said.
"Sure we tried a couple of things on the field and got a couple of positives from the match, but it really wasn't about that for us."
At the conclusion of the three matches, which even saw Joey's brother Matt - who's played more than 300 first grade games for Gundagai - lead out the Superoos reserve grade side, Rose's father presented the inaugural Joey Rose Cup.
"Joey's father Steve doesn't want the trophy top necessarily going to the the winning team, rather who plays the games in the best spirits, just like Joey did," Dallas said.
"So it was fitting that Chelsea and Matt Rose were presented the trophy on the day."
After such a successful inaugural event, the day will be held in Jamberoo in 2020.
"For me, the message to take form the day, is all about paying respects to our good mate Joey, while also raising awareness in both clubs and communities," Dallas said.
"Events like this emphasise how important it is to have good people around you in tough times - I can see the bond between the two clubs only getting stronger for years to come."
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