FOR the second straight season, the Group Seven Referees Association will support the Best Friends For Ever Rescue as part of their annual charity round.
The officials decided to begin their support of the Best Friends For Ever Rescue, which rehome abused and abandoned dogs from the pound in need of shelter on the South Coast, in 2019 and choose to again donate funds to the worthwhile cause this season.
"A couple of years ago, when the new referees' board came in, part of our organisational charter was to put back into the community," said Group Seven Referees president Paul Lees.
"After partaking in substantial research on who we could help out, we decided on one that was struggling a bit at the time and needed some help, which was the Best Friends For Ever charity.
"The volunteer-run charity takes less fortunate dogs in, gives them the medical treatment they need and feeds them.
"They get very little financial backing and that's we've stepped in to try and give them some support."
With only a small band of soldiers, the BFFE, which was set up in 2004 nationally, has a tough job in the community, made even more difficult due to COVID-19.
"We take on any type of dog, from a 10-day old puppy to a 12-year-old staffy and everything in between - often taking on the harder case dogs, such as King and Queen, who are with us at the moment," said BFFE Illawarra's rehoming coordinator and director Kate McCarroll - who's program prevents dogs having to be euthanised and assists in getting pets veterinary work up to standard.
"For the referees to again choose to support us, especially with COVID preventing us to fundraise at all, is extremely important and we can't thank them enough.
"With escalating costs, due to the health of our dogs, we wouldn't be able to offer the level of support we strive to do if not for generous donations like these.
"You can't put a price on a dogs' life and due to the referees' support, we've been able to keep numerous pets alive - we appreciate them so much."
At all Group Seven Rugby League grounds in round nine, the referees will be supporting the BFFE in numerous ways.
"We will again be wearing the orange BFFE charity jerseys in all matches, from juniors to league tag all the way up to first grade," Lees said.
"There will also be charity boxes at each first grade venue [Michael Cronin Oval, Berry Showground, Flinders Field and Kiama Showground], to allow people to donate money."
If you can't make it to the grounds over the weekend, you can still donate via the details below.
Account name: Group 7 Referees
BSB number: 633 000
Account number: 145 827 648
Note/comment: BFFE donation