Tallangatta and Rutherglen will put their differences aside this weekend to support an important cause.
Saturday’s clash between the two Tallangatta league finals hopefuls at Tallangatta will double as a Donate Life awareness day.
Rutherglen started the initiative following the passing of netballer Jess McLennan in 2016, whose organs were donated to five people.
Tallangatta’s Sharlene De Amyand has been a recipient of organ donation herself, and was keen to strike up a partnership between the two clubs.
De Amyand, the club’s catering manager, was the driving force behind the inception of the Donate Life Cup and Jess McLennan Cup with Rutherglen.
Tallangatta coach Sam Livingstone said it’s a cause the club is really happy to be a part of.
“The ideal partner in crime would be Rutherglen with the big story with Jess and what they went through,” Livingstone said.
“Sharlene, being really passionate about it, headed it all up and thought it would be a great idea to do it with them.
“In true form to those guys, they jumped on board straight away.
“They’ve already done so much and if we can do a little bit to help as well, it goes a long way.
“We want to make it an annual thing to assist.
“The game is really insignificant when you look at the bigger picture of life.”
The senior footballers will play for the Donate Life Cup, while the A-grade netballers clash for the Jess McLennan Cup.
“We’re wearing different guernseys and the Rutherglen guys are as well, both clubs are really jumping behind it,” Livingstone said.
“Hopefully we can get everyone there and make a big effort to raise awareness for organ donation.
“We’ve got a speaker coming out on Thursday night from Donate Life which will be pretty eye-opening.”
Along with the importance the fixture carries off the field, the clash is shaping as a vital one for both sides.
Tallangatta is second, while Rutherglen must make up two games to consider itself a top-three chance.
“We haven’t played as well as we probably would have liked, but I suppose there’s a few coaches that would say that at this point of the year,” Livingstone said.
“The Wahgunyah game (two weeks ago) we had a couple out and they really came to play and we didn’t, so we nearly got done.
“We had a lot out on the weekend against Wodonga Saints and were still able to get a good win there, so we’re really looking forward to the next month.
“We’ve got all of who consider to be the top-four in Rutherglen, Kiewa, Barny and Thurgoona, so it will certainly sort us out and show where we’re at.
“Winning games early is the key and we’ve done that so far, so hopefully we can keep on our merry way.
“We’ll get six or seven back this week, the boys that were a little bit sore were able to have a week off to rest up and hopefully they’ll be fit and ready to go for the next month.”