NACCHO congratulates the NRL for support of the OXFAM Close the Gap round

close the gap round

Picture above Deadly Choices major promotion for Friday nights game

Rugby League is again getting behind a great cause, with this weekend’s Close the Gap Round (August 3-6) supporting Australia’s largest campaign to improve Indigenous health.

And NACCHO as a member of the Close the Gap campaign congratulates the NRL for their ongoing support

Oxfam Australia’s ‘Close the Gap’ campaign aims to reduce the 10-year life expectancy gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and NRL stars including Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Greg Inglis are urging league fans to help tackle Indigenous health inequality by pledging to support the campaign.


The NRL has a long history of supporting Indigenous all stars and Close the Gap Rounds

This year’s game-wide activities will again highlight the importance of working to improve Indigenous health, life expectancy and education and employment opportunities.

Over the round, NRL Club initiatives will include Indigenous-inspired jerseys, mentoring, leadership, cultural awareness sessions and Indigenous performances.

Sport plays a critical role in helping to close the gap, with many examples of lives being turned around through involvement in a local sporting club, with its community focus and health benefits for players.

Rugby League was the first sporting code in Australia to support the Close the Gap campaign with our inaugural Close the Gap Round held in 2009.

There’s no reason why all Australians can’t enjoy health equality so please show your support for closing the gap and sign the pledge when you go to support your team this round.

You can also sign the pledge, by logging on to

NACCHO State of Origin health news: But what’s your State of Mind?


The NSW Government has joined forces with the NRL and a number of Australia’s leading mental health providers during this year’s State of Origin series to encourage people to help break down the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

NSW Minister for Mental Health, Kevin Humphries, said the ‘What’s Your State of Mind’ campaign will see past and present NRL and Origin greats Mal Meninga, Jonathan Thurston, Paul Gallen, Mitchell Pearce, Greg Inglis, Roy Asotasi and Andrew Ryan urge people to take responsibility for their own mental health and encourage people to look out for one another.

J Mal

“The campaign has also brought together mental health service providers including beyondblue, Kids Helpline, headspace, SANE Australia, Lifeline, Black Dog Institute and MensLine Australia to encourage all Australians to take the time to improve their understanding of mental illness,” Mr Humphries said.


“By having some of our best known sport stars at one of the biggest events on the Australian sporting calendar promoting mental health, this campaign is a hugely important step towards building resilience and encouraging people to support one another.

“I would encourage all Australians to take the time during this year’s State of Origin campaign to find out more about mental illness and the impact it has on those who live with it, and on the broader community.”

The campaign will include a dedicated mental health awareness website and training for a number of NRL ambassadors to promote the campaign’s message in schools and the community.

NRL Chief Executive, Dave Smith, said aligning the campaign with one of the showpieces of the Rugby League season highlighted the NRL’s commitment to combating the stigma that currently sees far too many people not seeking help when they need it.

“Mental illness does not discriminate and even in a game as tough as Rugby League we are faced with mental health challenges. Our Rugby League family of players, officials, volunteers and supporters should know that it’s okay to talk to someone if you don’t feel right,” Mr Smith said.

“Having the courage to talk about how you are feeling ensures you will have the support of others and at the same time you could be giving someone else the confidence to talk about how they feel.”

For more information please visit


MEDIA: Jeremy Scott – 0467 741 200

NACCHO health news:Aboriginal Communities and NSWRL Join Forces on Innovative Weight Loss Challenge


Ben Barba (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs) just one of the promient Aboriginal stars actings as mentors (see full list below)

 Aboriginal communities from across the state will team up with NSW Rugby League as part of a unique weight loss challenge designed to encourage Aboriginal people to lose weight and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

 Minister for Healthy Lifestyles Kevin Humphries and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello today joined NRL stars Nathan Merritt and George Rose to launch the 2013 NSW Knockout Health Challenge.

“The Knockout Challenge is a unique event that sees 22 teams of up to 30 members each go head to head to see who can lose the most combined weight over a 16 week period, under the guidance of some of the biggest names in rugby league,” Mr Humphries said.

“By encouraging contestants to increase their exercise level and develop healthy eating habits they will not only lose weight but reduce their risk of contracting a range of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“It is an innovative program that works; last year’s teams lost a combined 1100 kilograms while learning the skills to help keep the weight off in the long-term.”

NSW Rugby League Indigenous Programs Manager, Ricky Walford, said some of the game’s most prominent Aboriginal stars will act as mentors for the teams, including:

  • Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
  • George Rose (Manly Sea Eagles)
  • Ben Barba (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
  • Reece Robinson (Canberra Raiders)
  • Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)
  • Joel Romelo (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
  • Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans)
  • Jamie Soward (St George-Illawarra Dragons)
  • Timana Tahu (Newcastle Knights)
  • Joel Thompson (Canberra Raiders)
  • Brad Tighe (Penrith Panthers)
  • Jonathan Wright (Cronulla Sharks)

“These players have a genuine interest in improving health outcomes of Aboriginal people and will act as mentors for the contestants during their weight loss journey by providing messages of support and training tips for the teams,” Mr Walford said.

Mr Dominello said the key to the success of the NSW Knockout was that it offered Aboriginal people the opportunity to be part of a community challenge.

“By linking Aboriginal culture with an individual’s participation in their own weight loss, the Knockout Challenge is about far more than losing weight; it is about building healthy families and communities,” Mr Dominello said.

“Through the challenge we see mums getting fitter to keep up with their kids and children training alongside their parents and Aunties and Uncles.

“Furthermore, rugby league is an important part of contemporary Aboriginal culture and this partnership with NSW Rugby League is a powerful way to connect with Aboriginal people.

“Players such as Greg Inglis and Timana Tahu are role models for all Australians, and the opportunity for contestants to be mentored through the challenge by these prominent Aboriginal sportsmen will provide added inspiration for these players to achieve their weight loss goals