Newly appointed NSW coach Brad Fittler will put his preparations for this year’s State of Origin series on hold for the back half of February to once again join forces with a crack team of Blues greats to help raise much-needed funds for Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets.
The Sydney Roosters legend will jump on his bike and lead the likes of Danny Buderus, Nathan Hindmarsh, Steve Menzies and women’s star Kezie Apps through regional NSW as part of the annual Hogs For The Homeless Tour.
This year’s tour is the first charity program to be run under the banner of the newly-formed NSW Rugby League Foundation, and the group will roll into Orange on February 21 to run a junior clinic and meet the fans before heading to Wellington the next day.
Fittler’s team will tick off one of its major goals for the tour in Wellington, helping to re-turf one of the town’s fields, and the celebrated five-eighth can’t wait.
“The Hogs For The Homeless tour is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding times of the year,” Fittler said at the tour launch.
“The tour gains more momentum every year. We are all really looking forward to getting out there and giving back to communities who need our help the most.
"Sometimes the simple things like meeting people, saying hello and having a conversation can go a long way to inspiring them.”
In past years the group has also hosted a gala dinner at Duntryleague and is expected to again in 2018, it’s a night filled with frivolity that usually raises a huge amount of money.
Since it’s inception in 2013 the Hogs For The Homeless Tour has raised more than $600,000 for Youth off the Streets, and its reach spans far beyond the central west too.
This year’s tour, which starts on February 15 when the group comes together at Terrey Hills tavern before leaving the next morning, will cover more than 5,000km in 10 days and stop off in 16 different towns and cities.
Fittler and his fellow stars will also run clinics in Scone, Tamworth, Lennox Head, Glen Innes and Gloucester, they’ll make appearances at the Oak Nines Tournaments in Uralla and Leeton and also visit the Gadara School for children with a disability in Tumut.
Hogs For The Homeless raises funds through merchandise, auctions and raffle tickets, with this year’s first prize winner to receive a 2018 883 Iron RRP Harley-Davidson motorcycle valued at $15,995.
You can purchase tickets in that raffle here.