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The opening round of the 2010 Telstra Premiership takes on extra significance for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Newcastle Knights as they compete for the first NRL beyondblue Cup.

The beyondblue Cup aims to raise awareness of depression, anxiety and related drug and alcohol problems and to reduce the associated stigma within the NRL community.

Around one million Australian adults live with depression and more than two million have an anxiety disorder. By partnering with beyondblue: the national depression initiative, the Bulldogs aim to encourage people to talk about depression and anxiety and to seek help.

This partnership further enhances the Bulldogs in the Community Programme.

All players and coaches will take part in beyondblue awareness workshops to help them recognise the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety and build confidence to assist a friend or team-mate to get help.

beyondblue volunteers will be at the gates at Saturday’s game handing out wristbands and beyondblue information.

A massive 16 by 12 metre beyondblue jersey will be carried onto the field before and after the game, as a strong visual reminder that depression and anxiety disorders cannot be ignored.

beyondblue CEO, Leonie Young will address guests at a function before the game in the Bulldogs corporate suites and she will present the beyondblue Cup to the winning side at the end of the match.  

Ms Young said: “beyondblue is pleased to be working with the NRL because we know that depression and anxiety can affect people from all walks of life – even elite athletes. These illnesses are common and can be very serious if left unchecked. The good news is that with the right help, most people recover.

“We congratulate the Bulldogs and Knights for their leadership in playing off for the beyondblue Cup.

“As well as educating players and coaches, the NRL beyondblue Cup is also a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness among footy fans, the local community and people watching the game on TV. We want people to know that it’s OK to talk about it and that effective treatments are available.”

“Depression and anxiety are a debilitating reality for so many people and I believe we have a strong obligation to use the reach and profile of the Bulldogs to encourage discussion about these conditions,” said Bulldogs CEO Mr Todd Greenberg.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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