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Health + rugby partnership blossoms

Western Plains App

Lee O'Connor

15 May 2024, 7:40 AM

Health + rugby partnership blossomsCAHS Board members Siffia Fernando, Angela Fernando, Jan Arrowsmith and Gloria Fernando caught up with home-grown rugby star Ned Hanigan in Sydney over the weekend.

Board members and staff of Coonamble Aboriginal Health Service were treated to a feast of rugby union on the weekend with a trip to Sydney that also paid dividends for their Fair Dinkum Choices health promotion campaign.


CAHS have embarked on a partnership with Western Plains Rugby to engage young Aboriginal sports stars who will be developed through regional Rugby training camps to maybe one day make it to the big stage.


Over the weekend, staff and directors of CAHS were invited by NSW Rugby and the Waratahs, to attend a formal function in Sydney for the launch of the co-design health promotions of ‘Fairdinkum Choices' (TM).


The launch was broadcast on Stan TV and seen around the world. 



Early on Friday morning 10 May the CAHS delegation attended the Captains Run at the Waratahs Headquarters in Daceyville Sydney.


The Board of Directors, Executive Officer Beau Ewers, CEO Phil Naden and Event Co-ordinators Pam Renata and Kylah Fernando were on hand for the presentation of the Koori design on the Fairdinkum Choices guernsey’s to the Captain of the Waratahs Jake Gordon, by Dubbo-based artist and Aboriginal Health Practitioner Coen Naden.


With Western Plains Rugby and other signed partners, CAHS are working to co-design their Fairdinkum Choices campaign that encourages healthier choices for lifelong wellbeing in communities across the region.


Their health education slogan is "If you're serious about your health, isn’t it time you made some Fairdinkum Choices?”


Warathas Captain Jake Gordon and artist Coen Naden


CAHS CEO Phil Naden says by selling licence agreements to key partners, CAHS can step away from a reliance on government grant programs to get their health messages to the grassroots.


"It means we don't go to the government cap in hand for promotions and workforce, to keep our staff employed," he said.


The deal has already seen the delivery of rugby gala days in Coonamble and Gulargambone, with another planned soon for Walgett.


"We provide first aid, health checks, and registrations are through the Fair Dinkum Choices app," Mr Naden said.

"We look after the back end stuff and let Western Plains Rugby do the rugby.


"We have demonstrated that CAHS can think outside the box and we can demonstrate to Government, that we can achieve the same outcomes to those organisations that are receiving large amounts of funding.


"I am super proud the work CAHS are doing in this space, but more impressed that the Board have supported the initiative and worked with the Executive to get this to where it is today. "


CAHS Board members with Western Plains Rugby reps


He thanked co-ordinators Kylah Fernando and Pam Renata for bringing the weekend together.


"There were many highlights on the weekend - watching the Junior Western Plains Rugby teams play on the big stage, launching the co-design of Fairdinkum Choices (TM) with NSW Rugby Union and the Waratahs, as well as getting to meet local boy Ned Hanigan who managed to find time to spend with our team whilst we were in Sydney.”


CAHS will be working with many more organisations across the region to co-design our Fairdinkum Choices (TM) health promotions.