Crowe keeps the bushfire community's footy dream going
The Gladiator is ready to step forward to contest another fight - this time to save a famous bush footy club.
Hollywood star and rugby league tragic Russell Crowe has told The Daily Telegraph he will help and assist the Orara Valley Axemen's bid for re-entry into country footy for 2021.
Sadly, through a lack of players, the well-known club has been forced to withdraw from the Group Two competition for this season.
Crowe has for many years financially supported the club located near his north coast property at Nana Glen, outside Coffs Harbour.
But it's too early, according to Crowe, to bury and cremate the Axemen just yet.
"The club has decided to take this year out, get reorganised and come back into the comp fresh and ready to be competitive in 2021," Crowe said.
"It's not the end of the Axemen by any stretch. It means too much to too many people up here. As they know, I'll be there to help them when they've got their plan in place.
"As you probably know my family has been a major sponsor of the Orara Valley Axemen for over 20 years.
"I personally don't take part in how the club operates but they know they always have my ear if they need something."
Crowe said rugby league was a needed and much loved distraction after the region was devastated by bushfire late last year.
"The community up here has had a lot to deal with lately," Crowe said.
"The valley was on high alert for fires from last August that finally hit with some force in November and following hard on the heels of that we flooded out recently.
"It's been a tough period for people up here and rightly they have been focused on family, those who got hit the worst and getting the community, as a whole, back to some balance."
A group two general meeting on Monday night ended Orara's hopes of playing in 2020. The club was unable to nominate any sides to complete for the coming season.
A club statement read: "Unfortunately, due to low player numbers, we are unable to enter a first grade side in the 2020 Group Two competition. Due to this, we therefore are unable to enter any sides in the Group Two competition.
"The 2019 season was a year full of triumphs and loses. Although we had a season plagued with departures and low playing numbers, we saw the season out.
"We finished 2019 optimistic about our future and what we could do to better our proud club in 2020. We will use the year to rebuild for a bright and positive 2021.
"You (the local supporters) will still find us doing our yearly fundraising events such as the Orara Valley Fair, our annual trivia night and, as always, our local meat raffles.
"We would like to thank the unwavering support of our sponsors, supporters, players, families, local businesses and our committee members."