Yass Rams hold 14th Boys Above fixture to raise money for SPIN

This Saturday is one of the most important days on the Yass Rams' calendar, and it has very little to do with rugby union.

A good cause: (from left) Grant Brewer, Barry O'Mara, Lionel the Lion, and Andy Hewitt at Victoria Park. Hewitt is wearing one of the specially-designed jerseys which will be auctioned after the game. Photo: Zac Lowe.

A good cause: (from left) Grant Brewer, Barry O'Mara, Lionel the Lion, and Andy Hewitt at Victoria Park. Hewitt is wearing one of the specially-designed jerseys which will be auctioned after the game. Photo: Zac Lowe.

The Boys Above charity game has been held between the Yass Rams and the Tuggeranong Vikings every year since 2005.

It is played in memory of Brendan Regent and James Connell, two Rams players who died suddenly of heart attacks in 2004, when they were both 27.

"[Their passing] had a big impact, the club could've gone one of two ways," Rams president Grant Brewer said.

"We could've actually packed up and folded, but due to the support that we gained from the Brumbies - we had counseling, pastors came, nurses came and spoke to us - so it actually brought the club closer together in the end."

In 2005, the year after the tragedy, the Rams went through the Monaro Cup season undefeated, a feat which Brewer said was largely inspired by the memory of Regent and Connell.

That year also marked the first time that the Boys Above game was held, and Tuggeranong came aboard as opponents having suffered a similar loss.

14 years on, the Rams use the charity game as an opportunity to promote mental health awareness; a cause which is a problem in many country towns and has also impacted the Rams.

"It's to raise awareness about young people with mental health," Brewer said.

"A lot of young people find these days that they don't fit in anywhere. At the Rams, and at any sporting organisation, you need to feel that you belong, and certainly that's what we're promoting. The aspect that you've got someone to talk to."

Proceeds raised this year will go towards the Yass Valley SPIN Foundation.

"It's a cause that's very close to my heart," foundation spokesman and publicity officer, Barry O'Mara, said.

"I was involved with the Rams at the time that the two boys passed, I was assisting Grant, who was the coach."

A number of former Rams players, including John Hall, Luke Darmody, Alec Wood, and Ben Downey will return for the match.

The Boys Above charity game will take place on Saturday, October 12, from 2.30pm at Victoria Park.

The specially-designed jerseys will be auctioned off after the game at the Clubhouse Hotel.

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