Rugby league and charity go hand in hand

Rugby league players out in Kings Cross on a Tuesday night!

In today's news cycle, it's a headline the game would hate to see. 

But not on this occasion. 

On Tuesday, the City Origin side went to the BaptistCare Hope Street barbeque to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate. 

Whether it was James Tamou on snag duty, Nathan Ross sealing off steaks, Chad Townsend adding sauce or players simply having a chat and a photo with someone doing it tough, the City squad continued the growing trend of NRL stars making a difference in the community. 

City skipper Paul Gallen told NRL.com that philanthropy and rugby league were joined at the hip; the only problem is that it doesn't get the exposure it deserves.  

"We're often bagged by the public for what we do on and off the field, but there wouldn't be another profession in Australia that does as much for charity and the community than what rugby league does," Gallen said. 

"I'm sure other codes do similar, but I know for a fact that the amount of work that rugby league players do for the community and people in need is second to none. 

"Because it doesn't cause controversy or sell newspapers, it's something that goes by the wayside so people don't know about it. I can tell you first hand that we'd be the number one code in helping people out."

The Woolloomooloo barbeque has become a permanent fixture on the City calendar and is just one of the many charitable deeds that their coach Brad Fittler has pushed over the years.

For Gallen, the night emphasised just how tough some people have it but also showed that with a little bit of compassion, even something as small as a hot meal and good company can brighten someone's day. 

"I saw an older lady right down to some young kids and everyone in between so it's a real eye-opener to see how hard some people have it," he said. 

"We're very fortunate to be playing sport and being in the position that we're in, and this is the other side of life. It's a big issue in our society so it's great that we can come down here and put smiles on their faces. 

"I actually just met a massive Sharkies fan and he's absolutely going off because he's pumped to see us here. It's an honour to come down here and cook for them and get to hear some of their stories."