The spirit of the game
IT WOULD have taken more than rain to dampen the spirits of junior rugby league supporters on Saturday night.
Crowded under the Eastern Suburbs and Collegians Junior Rugby League clubhouse roofs and tucked away in their cars, followers of the two local clubs supported their respective teams as the under 14s and under 16s took the field for two very special trophies.
The Dion Roche Memorial Trophy has been played since 2006 in memory of the 24-year-old who lost his life.
Dion's uncle Gerry Roche, who represented the family, said the night was as much a credit to the clubs and their presidents as it was to the family.
"It is a great night between two great clubs and it is wonderful to see everyone enjoying themselves," he said.
Happy to again represent their sons at the Ian Jones and Daniel May Memorial Trophy game were the boys' mothers, Allison Jones and Leanne Manwaring.
"It is great to have this event and it means a lot to us," Mrs Jones said.
"Most of the kids playing now wouldn't have even known the boys but it is good to see they understand the spirit of the game.
"The boys were good friends off the field which is what made it so interesting when their teams played each other but they absolutely loved the game and playing it and seeing these boys enjoy it now is what this trophy is all about."
Daniel's mother Leanne Manwaring said it was nice to know the trophy kept their memory alive.
"I love watching the current kids play footy," she said.
"Like the poem my daughter wrote says, when I watch them play I remember watching Dan and how much fun he had and what the boys got out of playing a team sport.
"After several requests I read the poem again before the game started because considering it talks about the importance of mateship it seemed appropriate."