IN Australia, finding an oval-shaped ball is as easy as walking to your nearest petrol station or corner shop.
In Latin America, access to rugby balls for any code is extremely rare – and in most cases the shop assistant will ask you if you are talking about the NFL (American gridiron).
To coincide with the first 13-on-13 match featuring teams from Latin American nations – held this Saturday at Newtown’s Henson Park in Sydney – we’re campaigning to help our friends abroad who are battling to develop Rugby League on Latino soil.
Fans of the sport are encouraged to bring down any functioning rugby league balls they can offer – or any old league jerseys or football boots they may have laying around.
“These will then be sent directly to the leaders of developing leagues in places like Chile, El Salvador, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay,” GYG Latin Heat Rugby League president Robert Burgin said.
“A ball is the most basic element needed to play the game – and it’s shape is also essential to its promotion and identity of Rugby League.
“Affordable access to sporting equipment is something we definitely take for granted in Australia, and in truth, I have met grown men in Latin America who have cried because of their inability to find or buy jerseys and balls for their community.
“Making Rugby League a game for all demographics is a big focus of ours.
“The average annual income in some of these countries is less than $100 a week, so a rugby ball is a luxury compared to putting food on the table.”
VENUE: Henson Park, home of the Newtown Jets. Centennial Street, Marrickville, 2204.
SCHEDULE: Saturday, June 11, 2016
11.15am Colombia v Ecuador (Game 1 – Sevens)
11.35am Peru v Uruguay (Game 1 – Nines)
12noon Colombia v Ecuador (Game 2 – Sevens)
12:20pm Peru v Uruguay (Game 2 – Nines)
12:50 Chile v El Salvador (Full sides)
3pm Newtown v Wentworthville.
TICKETS: $10 via Oztix LINK: http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=63089
HALF-PRICE ENTRY: If you can produce a ticket to the Pacific Test on the gate by 1:30pm
AUTHENTIC LATINO FOOD: Along with the usual footy bites and beers by Newtown Jets, we will have Salvadoran food truck Raza Central in attendance.
CHILEAN DANCERS: What’s a Latino event without music and motion? Get in the groove at halftime with our special guest performers.
MERCHANDISE ON SALE: We’ll have team jerseys, hats, flags, polos, hoodies and singlets available on the day.
RAFFLE FOR ECUADOR EARTHQUAKE: Buy a ticket in our raffle for this one-off signed Ecuador team jersey. Money goes straight to Cruz Roja Ecuador for their earthquake appeal.
Colombia (7s squad)
Juan David Espinal Cano, Diego Gil Vejerano, David Goyeneche, Miguel Henao Velez, Andres Jimenez, Sebastian Maya Jimenez, Milton Mosquera, Alejandro Restrepo, Daniel Rickard, Steven Azzopardi.
Ecuador (7s squad)
Scott Correa, Rodney Garcia, William Gomez, Sebastian Jacome, Jon Liszka, Jeff Lopez, William Naboa, Johnathan Padilla, Jay Palese, Dahcell Ramos, Geovanny Sanchez, Edgar Santamaria, Byron Serrano, John Vasco.
Peru (9s squad)
Frank Altamirano, Paul Altamirano, Juan Carlos Carrion, Corey Daniela, Sean Day, Luis Guillermo Fhon, James Goncalves, Jonathan Julca, Kurtis Labour, Jacob Parker, Aaron Perez, Mitchell Perez, Jye Sommers
Uruguay (9s squad)
Andrew Almada, Michael Bolz, Matthew Booth, Javier Britos, Nicholas Cama, Kevin Clarke, Steven Clarke, Pablo Florentin, Federico Gonzalez, Fernando Gonzalez, Jesse Graham, Angel Morrison, Michael Pizzorno, Roberto Negro, Gabriel Papa, Eric Rendo, Kristofer Vieira, Adrian Gela.
Chile (Full numbered team)
- James Horvat, 2. Chris Brantes, 3. Sebastian Delapaz, 4. Brandon Tobar, 5. Jon Munoz, 6. Brad Millar, 7. Trent Millar, 8. Eduardo Wegener, 9. Israel Perez, 10. Nicholas Doberer, 11. Josh Munoz, 12. Jonathan Espinoza, 13. Jaden Laing. Interchange: 14. Mana Castillo, 15, Dennis Ford, 16. Jayden Yasar, 17. Sergio Montenegro, 18. William Neculman, 19. Nicholas Neculman, 20. Ben Fisher, 21. Juan Eugene Araya (four to be omitted)
El Salvador (Full numbered team).
- Joaquin Mendoza, 2. Ronnie Rivas, 3. Miguel Alarcon, 4. Frank (Paco) Godinez, 5. Javier Alarcon, 6. Alvaro Alarcon, 7. Fredy Arteaga-Figueroa, 8. JC Mendez, 9. Miguel Gonzalez, 10 Junior Alarcon, 11. Nelson Melgar, 12. Eric Orellana, 13. Josh Guzman. Interchange: 14. Mayer Flamenco, 15. Cesar Cordova, 16. Denis Hernandez, 17. Rafael Mendoza, 18. Jono Godinez, 19. Daniel Godinez, 20. Walter Godinez, 21. Francois Sansour (four to be omitted)
The efforts of the 100% volunteer-run Latin Heat Rugby League are supported by Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taquerias, S.H.I.E.L.D Security, Tattoo Tears, OneBigSwitch.com.au, Jani-King Cleaning, SeriousAboutRL.com, Rugby League Team Manager 2015 computer game, Retrocom Digital TV Specialists, Colombianos en Brisbane, Link Australia Student Services, Raw Juicery, SEMCAR Mechanics, Lichtnauer and Associates Accountants, Cast Graphics, Cabramatta Ink, Majestic Property Maintenance, musician Royal El Latino and Darkside Studio Photography.