The Rabbitohs Junior Elite Squad took a lesson in giving back this week when they provided free healthy burger meals to the local Redfern community.
Current and former Rabbitohs NRL players Cam McInnes, Nathan Merritt, Michael Crocker, and Beau Champion were also in attendance to support the junior players.
Leellen Lewis, Souths Cares Health and Education Programs Manager, said that the charity was pleased to join with The Fact Tree Youth Service in co-hosting the event.
“The Bunny Burger Challenge was a great opportunity for Souths Cares and The Fact Tree – a very well respected, home-grown youth service – to come together and provide the community with this initiative,” Leellen said.
“The Challenge involved every member of the Rabbitohs Junior Elite Squad to prepare, cooki, assemble and serve burger meals to the local community.
“The night was a great success and was attended by more than 100 members of the community who managed to eat their way through 120 burgers.”
To add some variety to the event, each of the 22 Squad members were divided into four teams, serving up four different varieties of burgers.
“We decided to put a twist on the evening and encourage the teams to compete against each other and have the community vote for the burger they thought tasted the best,” she said.
“Surprisingly, the favourite of the night was the vegetarian burger followed closely by the roo, then chicken and in fourth place, beef.”
In addition, Leellen said that having the players share their personal stories with community provided a unique insight in to their lifestyles.
“It was interesting listening to the boy’s share their personal football stories and the sacrifices and choices they made to become elite athletes,” said Leellen.
“There were common threads in each story, but with the retired players, the thing that stands out us that they continue to play a role in supporting community after their playing career is over.
“That says a lot about those individuals, the Rabbitohs culture and the importance they place on giving-back to their fans.”
Former International and Rabbitohs winger, Matt King, who is the current Development Coach for the Rabbitohs, said he wanted to show the Elite Juniors how important it is for Souths players to play an active role in the community.
“Humility is a theme that we have pressed upon the kids in our program and the Bunny Burger Challenge was a great way to put that into practice,” said Matt.
“With our boys playing with the kids at the Centre, serving food and washing dishes, it was a great example of them growing as young men.
“I'd love to personally thank everyone involved in putting the event together – the team at The Fact Tree, Souths Cares, Joe Seco, the Redfern Community Centre, Cam McInnes and Mick Crocker.”