Kurow and Mackenzie rugby players will again honour the memory of their fallen comrade next weekend.
The country clubs – at both senior and senior B level – clash in the second annual Jarrad Blackler Memorial game in Fairlie.
The game was established to remember Blackler, who played for both clubs and was just 23 when he died in May 2015 from injuries received in a crash in the Hakataramea Valley.
Last year, the Blackler family instigated the idea of a memorial trophy to ensure the name of their popular son and brother would live on in both clubs.
Kurow coach Kevin Malcolm said the inaugural game last season was a marvellous occasion.
“I think the biggest part of it last year was the community participation,” Malcolm said.
“People really came out to support the family and the club in honouring Jarrad and also recognising the trials we’d been through.”
Mackenzie won the inaugural clash, and Malcolm has heard the men from up country are optimistic about their chances again.
Kurow would make sure it fielded a competitive team for the game, Malcolm said.
“At this early stage of the season, we’ve been struggling for numbers a bit. The agricultural season has run late, so we’re not getting big numbers to pre-season practice.
“But the common theme with the Blackler memorial game is that players are saying: ‘Don’t panic – we will be there and ready for the game.’ That says it all.”
Malcolm expected there would be plenty of Blackler’s relatives at the game.
“I’m sure they will be out in force. The Mackenzie area is a stronghold of the Blackler family and I’m sure they will be part of it.”