The unveiling of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs – Deadly Choices health check shirt varieties at Toowoomba’s Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement Company Limited on Friday the 3rf of February 2023, highlighted community commitment as the overriding endeavour of the Western Clydesdale’s NRL affiliate.
It also pays homage to the legion of First Nations supporters of the Bulldogs across Australia, who’ll be able to secure a limited-edition Bulldogs shirt simply by booking in for a health check, at any participating community-controlled health service throughout the country.
The initiative shows the desire of the NRL club to make an impact where it matters most, as Bulldogs Board Members John Khoury, Peter McMahon, Andrew Gifford and legends, Club General Manager of Football Phil Gould, Terry Lamb, Paul Langmack, Clydesdales Coach Jason Alchin and Deadly Choices Ambassador Willie Tonga, came together to formalise the partnership with Deadly Choices.
“We are well aware of the wonderful work that the Deadly Choices program has been delivering right across the country. It is a great initiative that empowers, educates, and supports Indigenous communities, including school groups, to help make healthy choices,” Bulldogs Chairman John Khoury said.
“As one of the most culturally diverse Clubs, and one that has strong ties to the Indigenous community, we are determined to help provide greater outcomes across our local communities.
“Deadly Choices is a good choice for the Bulldogs, and we’re keen to help get the message out there and encourage all of our fans and Members to seek regular health checks.
“Access to tools and resources is really important and this is one small way our Club can help make a difference and show our respect for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.”
2004 Bulldogs Premiership player, Willie Tonga was equally impressed to have his former club confirm the partnership with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’s (IUIH) preventative health program, on the eve of the Clydesdales clash with the Bulldog’s Metropolitan Cup team at Clive Berghofer Stadium.
As a Deadly Choices Ambassador, Tonga has been a valued contributor across the past three and a half years, assisting to create better health and educational outcomes among Indigenous communities throughout Australia; a formula which the Bulldogs will now implement to boost existing and future programs within its community partnership portfolio.
“The Deadly Choices – Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs partnership speaks to some of the core pillars of the Club’s community programs,” confirmed Tonga.
“It will help reinforce those positive mental and physical health outcomes among Indigenous communities, through the promotion of healthy eating, active participation in sport, while also emphasising the importance of a good education.
“To have a club like the Bulldogs, which continues to maintain strong family values, associated with Deadly Choices, makes for a great combination which is sure to bring about added incentive for communities like Toowoomba and across South-West Queensland to get in touch with their local Goolburri Health Service, book in for a health check and receive a deadly Bulldogs shirt.
The Bulldog’s strong contingent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players are just as excited about the new partnership, and were last week involved in a promotional filming day in Sydney.
Goolburri Aboriginal Health is excited at what the Bulldogs will provide in assisting to help close the health and life expectancy gap that exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and non-Indigenous Australians.
“When professional sporting clubs show a commitment to community through initiatives like this, it better enables our Goolburri and Deadly Choices teams to make genuine impact across the whole country, through education and empowerment,” said Goolburri CEO, Lizzie Adams.
“This Bulldogs partnership will particularly assist as we move into the recovery phase of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with players able to engage and deliver messaging to community members around the importance of maintaining health checks and staying up-to-date with any vaccination requirements.
“This partnership will bring life-changing benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples right across Australia and particularly across the Darling Downs and throughout the South-West corridor through the Club’s affiliation with the Western Clydesdales.”
The culture of the Western Clydesdales dictates a strong community focus which will ensure solid support for the Bulldogs-Deadly Choices partnership throughout the region.
“The Western Clydesdales are committed to our South-West Queensland community and using rugby league as a vehicle of change and education,” confirmed Club CEO Shane Sullivan.
“Our affiliation with the Bulldogs adds an additional layer to our community engagement and we are proud to support this initiative that so very clearly aligns with our Club values.
“Supporting Deadly Choices and Goolburri to deliver positive messaging and an opportunity to better health outcomes to our South-West Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important to the Club. Our players and staff are committed to promoting this important program throughout the region.”