They call it State of Origin, but when NSW Glebe Greyhounds play Victorian rivals, Ocean Grove Cobras, in their annual AFL junior football carnival, it’s about more than football.
On Saturday, 1st July and Sunday, 2nd July 2023 more than 150 children and their families from Glebe near the Sydney Harbour, will visit Ocean Grove on the Bellarine Peninsula to play in seven boys and girls matches across U9s to U16s. As part of this annual carnival, both football clubs raise vital funds for River’s Gift. So far, near to $20,000 has been raised in business sponsorship.
Head along and be a part of this fabulous event between 10am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday at Ocean Grove’s Collendina Reserve!
Help us achieve our fundraising target of $30,000 by donating now at this link – https://givenow.com.au/soovforsids
This is a story of interstate AFL communities coming together! Six years ago, in early 2017, two old schoolmates from Geelong sat around a campfire in southern NSW, and came up with the idea that they might organise a game of ‘State of Origin’ AFL football between their sons’ junior footy teams – one based in Sydney, NSW and the other in Ocean Grove, Victoria.
As the idea began to build momentum and things start to take shape, they figured that they’d like to align the initiative with a charitable cause. Another close schoolmate, Karl, had lost his son River to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) a few years earlier, in November 2011. He co-founded a charitable movement in River’s honour, and named it River’s Gift, to drive energy and action around SIDS research and infant safe sleep education. The choice of charity to align with was made simple – the interstate ‘State of Origin’ would align with River’s Gift and raise funds for this incredibly important cause. Twenty young kids ventured south from Sydney and played in the inaugural match in July 2017, with Ocean Grove taking out the coveted trophy.
Look six years forward and this annual event has become a movement in itself, with both clubs alternating the hosting rights! This weekend, over two days, the wintery coastal town of Ocean Grove will host the highly anticipated 5th hosting of the ‘State of Origin’ (SOOV). The carnival of footy will bring together 300 talented young male and female AFL footballers, aged between 7 and 16, from the Ocean Grove Cobras (VIC) and the Glebe Greyhounds (NSW). All funds raised over the weekend, and through business sponsorship, will fund the charitable pursuits of River’s Gift in the field of SIDS. And significantly, Sunday 2nd July is River’s 12th birthday.