RED vs BLUE: Rebels and Ghosts will both wear green shorts and socks for this Sunday's local derby to raise youth mental health awareness.
RED vs BLUE: Rebels and Ghosts will both wear green shorts and socks for this Sunday's local derby to raise youth mental health awareness. Adam Hourigan

POWER POINT: United we stand but divided on footy field

IN GRAFTON many things unite the community. The recently completed Grafton Races, the Jacaranda Festival, concerts, holiday celebrations, the list goes on. There is one thing however that divides this community, that division is rugby league.

Like the mighty Clarence that separates South Grafton from Grafton, in this town there are Rebels and there are Ghosts. This tradition goes back nearly 100 years and shows no signs of relenting any time soon.

Over the past couple of years this community went through some tragic times. Those events had impacts in all aspects of Clarence Valley life, particularly in the sporting community. Both Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels rugby league clubs were rocked with losses of current and former players and family members.

As a result, last year saw the inaugural Grafton headspace round between the two great clubs.

For the round the South Grafton Rebels players in all grades wore headspace coloured and branded shorts and socks. This act was to raise awareness and start conversations about how best we as a community can take a proactive approach to mental health and wellbeing.

Following the round countless conversations were held and no doubt many people were quite positively impacted, not necessarily by headspace staff but by one another within their own social circles.

The point of that initial round was to empower members of the community with the knowledge to comfortably have those all too often uncomfortable conversations that often make the biggest differences.

This year, in addition to the Rebels continuing the tradition, the Grafton Ghosts have, in a show of solidarity, embraced the concept and this Sunday will take the field wearing their traditional blue and white but also headspace green shorts and socks.

The stance taken by members of the Ghosts, including president Gary Gillespie, is the wellbeing and mental health of Grafton and the Clarence Valley community. It is not specific to one side of the river or the other. This is an issue that affects everyone and as such it is the responsibility of community ambassadors such as local footy players to take up the mantle in promoting the improvement of their own community.

We at headspace Grafton are honoured to be represented by both clubs and are excited that while on the field there is absolutely no love lost, the spirit of community and wellbeing for all takes precedence.

Hope to see everyone at Frank McGuren Field this Sunday.