Hogs’ hazy Bega pitstop

LEGENDS of rugby league stopped briefly in Bega on Monday.

Brad Fittler, Matt Cooper, Nathan Hindmarsh and Ian Schubert stopped in for an unscheduled visit as part of the Hogs for Homeless charity ride. 

The Hogs for Homeless ride is the brain child of Fittler who said as a father it made him feel “sick to his core” that there were nearly 4000 homeless children under the age of 12 in “the state of his origin, the state he loves so much, the state he has shed blood for; NSW” the NSW Rugby League website reads. 

The idea was to raise funds and awareness by visiting towns across the state and hosting clinics during the trip. 

The inaugural ride in 2013 was hailed as a massive success and this week, the boys have been back on the bikes to do it all again. 

On their way to Cooma, the group stopped at the Bega lookout, but were hindered by a haze of bushfire smoke that shrouded the town. 

The view of Bega, or lack thereof, might have been a new experience for some of the guys, but the Far South Coast is familiar territory for NSW Origin legend Fittler.  

“I’ve actually done this trip,” Fittler said.

“I love it.

“I’ve been down to Melbourne and Adelaide a couple of times.”

Fittler said the Far South Coast formed part of his favourite bit of the trip south, but this time they were headed west to Cooma. 

“This is mostly my favourite part, from the border of Victoria up to my mum’s at Sussex [Inlet],” he said. 

Fittler said he was a regular to the area with relatives scattered around the region. 

“[I’ve come down plenty of times] I’ve got family in Tathra, family in Bega and Pambula,” he said. 

“It’s brilliant, but it’s a bit too far from home.”

Unfortunately the guys didn’t get much of a view in to Bega during their brief stop with the thick haze. 

“It’s a shame the smoke is out today, we’ve had such lovely vistas all the way down,” Fittler said. 

The guys were on their way to Cooma, but Hindmarsh had a much longer journey in front of him. 

The long-serving Parramatta Eels player needed to be in Albury the following morning and had to part ways with the group at Cooma. 

Meanwhile the guys said they had been having a bit of fun along their journey.  

The group stopped in Moruya and took some happy snaps with a statue of St George Illawarra Dragons legend Mick Weyman. 

And in Cooma the mayor, and Group 16 president, Dean Lynch temporarily handed over the reins to Fittler who posted a photo on Twitter of the proud moment. 

Today the group is in Cessnock to take part in a Men of League foundation charity event, before heading on to Tamworth tomorrow. 

After that the ride will circle north into Queensland and visit the Gold Coast for a surfing event before returning to NSW.

The tour will finish on Thursday with a lap of ANZ Stadium to coincide with the launch of the NRL season. 

While they were in town though, a few locals may have been lucky enough to meet the guys when a couple stopped in town to fill up on petrol before heading on. 

Keep track of the tour on the NSW Rugby League website at www.blueshogsforhomeless .com.au.

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