QRL pedalling mental health message

The last round of the regular season will see Intrust Super Cup and Hastings Deering Colts players and officials don blue socks in promotion of player mental health and wellbeing.

Turn to Me, instigated by Isaak Ah Mau, Petero Civoniceva and Steve Johnston in response to the tragic loss of a number of rugby league players in 2013, focuses on increasing the awareness of - and normalising - mental Injuries and reinforces the need for mateship during the off season.

“This initiative and the message that it delivers is a really significant one for the people involved in our game,” QRL statewide competitions manager Dave Maiden said.

“One of our great strengths is the way the rugby league community rallies together in times of need; and that is essentially what happened here when Isaac, Petero and Steve got together with us to put this program together.

“Once again, we’re looking forward to working with our clubs over the course of the weekend to ensure the campaign reaches as many people as possible throughout the rugby league and wider community.”

The Turn to Me Round is supported by the fundraising efforts of Swich On Inc each year; they have raised more than $70,000 at Turn to Me Luncheons since 2014.

And this year, Francis Rigby from Financial Advice Matters raised money for the cause through the Bundy2Brissy charity bike ride.

The 540km, three-day ride saw 20 cycling enthusiasts, all wearing bright blue lycra, raise funds and awareness for the Turn to Me initiative and Rigby presented a $10,000 cheque to QRL chief operating officer Rohan Sawyer.

FAM managing director Darren Smith said he was proud to be involved in bringing the idea of the charity ride to fruition, adding mental health was "such an important issue and touches so many of us on a daily basis, so it was important that we especially expand the awareness in the regional community".

Auswide Bank chief executive officer Martin Barrett also rode in support of the cause.

"Events like these make a real difference to our community. In a society where everyone is so busy, it is great to see a group of people go out of their way and make a real sacrifice and importantly takes positive steps to make a contribution to build a stronger community," Barrett said.

As a display of unity across the weekend of fixtures, players and referees will wear blue socks, which represents a "clearing of the skies", and rival teams will come together and shake hands on the field before kick-off to the tune of Pete Murray's 'Better Days'.