* Photo courtesy of Sergio Montenegro/Darkside Studio
Colombianos en Brisbane will appear on both sleeves when the Hermanos (Brothers) take the field at Henson Park, Newtown, Sydney on a day that also features Chile v El Salvador, and Peru v Uruguay.
“We have had some great commercial sponsors from the outset and partnered with various charities, but we see this link with Colombianos en Brisbane as a real reflection of our growing value to the community,” Latin Heat co-founder Robert Burgin said.
“This project has always been as much about providing lifestyle opportunities, friendships and cultural appreciation as it has been about Rugby League – and I think Colombianos en Brisbane recognise that.
“In the fourth year of Latin American Rugby League we’ve gone from playing a sport that people didn’t associate with Latinos, to being ambassadors and influencers of sorts.
“The team will wear the Colombianos en Brisbane logo with pride and the contribution from the community goes directly to the costs of uniforms for the growing number of players we have.”
The Colombian contingent of Latin American Rugby League has achieved several firsts.
Bogota-born NRL Development Officer Daniel Sarmiento was the first captain of the combined Latin Heat squad, while Colombia contributed the most players of any Latino nation to the Heat’s foundation year.
Away from the park, Colombian players are also highly active in attending community events, fund-raising and showing support for various festivals.
“It’s through no stroke of luck this relationship has formed and we thank Colombianos en Brisbane Director Laura ‘Lala’ Mendoza for recognising that,” Mr Burgin said.
“The two organisations cross each other’s path frequently and have a similar attitude towards providing positive opportunities for the community.
“Most times there is a home game for the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL, you will see our players and friends from the Colombian community in the stands, so the sport has gone from being a novelty to a real passion.
“Our goal is to replicate this impact with all the South and Central American communities from Mexico down to Argentina and Chile.”
News of the sponsorship caps a week of celebration for the Colombian team, with current captain Sebastian Maya Jimenez to marry fiancée Claudia Arredondo at Brisbane’s Sirromet Winery tomorrow.
The Colombian team also has an existing major sponsor in Jani-King Cleaning, headed by fanatical Rugby League supporter, Australasian Operations Manager Mike Liddle.
The efforts of Latin Heat Rugby League as a whole 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, Lichtnauer and Associates Accountants, Cabramatta Ink and Majestic Property Maintenance, and Darkside Studio Photography.