Kristylea Bridge day raises a record $22,000 for Can Assist

Taree City and Wingham players and match officials observe a minute's silence before the start of the Kristylea Bridge Memorial Cup match at the Jack Neal Oval.
Taree City and Wingham players and match officials observe a minute's silence before the start of the Kristylea Bridge Memorial Cup match at the Jack Neal Oval.

TAREE City raised a record $22,000 for Can Assist from the annual fundraising day held in conjunction with the Group Three Rugby League match against Wingham at the Jack Neal Oval.

Club president Mal Dixon described the promotion as ‘a brilliant day.’

Taree City won the Kristylea Bridge Cup for the first time when beating Wingham 30-22. Kristylea’s brother, Todd, who played halfback for the Bulls, kicked five goals from as many attempts and set up two tries as Taree hit back late in the game to claim the result. He was named player of the match. This capped a memorable week for the family. Todd and his wife, Teisha became parents for the first time last Tuesday when Aloka Kristylea was born.

The Bulls are coached by Kristylea’s dad, Gary. Her cousins, Matt and Tim Bridge played with Wingham, with Matt being Wingham’s best. There were some emotional scenes at fulltime, with at least one player in tears. Kristylea lost her battle with a rare form of cancer in 2013. She was 27. The Bulls dedicated the clash against Wingham to her memory the following year.

“This has grown into a real community event,’’ Mr Dixon said.

“It’s the biggest crowd we’ve had in years – the gate was $3300, which was up on the 2016 figure. It’s become a real family day.

“There were people there I haven’t seen at the football for a long time,’’ Mr Dixon said.

An auction of sporting memorabilia and other items was held at the Airport Tavern after the match. 

Corporate box tickets for the Sydney Roosters/Cronulla NRL game attracted the most support, finally selling for $1450 while a signed NSW State of Origin jumper went for $1000. Signed Melbourne Storm, Sydney Roosters and Penrith jumpers were also popular.

“It was a fantastic result,’’ Gary Bridge said of the auction and the day.

“The day just seems to be getting bigger and bigger and people are happy to support Can Assist, because they know what a great job they do locally.’’

Mr Dixon said the Bulls have raised more than $80,000 for Can Assist in the past four years.

“It’s a pleasure to be involved with them,’’ he added.