Blues legends have Ballina stop on bike tour

Brad Fittler at The Ballina Seagulls Rugby League Club. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Brad Fittler at The Ballina Seagulls Rugby League Club. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

A FIVE-day motorcycle journey in torrential rain couldn't stop Blues legends Brad Fittler and Nathan Hindmarsh from turning out at the Ballina Seagulls rugby league ground yesterday.

 

It was one of the final stops on a 2500km journey around NSW on Harley Davidson motorbikes to help raise money for the homeless.

Fittler and Hindmarsh were joined by former Eels winger Eric Grothe as the trio ran a coaching clinic for junior rugby league players from the Northern Rivers.

The motorcycle trip finishes at Coolangatta today before a lap around Allianz stadium when the Roosters play South Sydney on Thursday night.

"It's the first time I'll ever drive a Harley on grass so it should be interesting," Fittler said.

"I had a motorbike when I was a kid, got in a bit of trouble with it and that was it for me.

"I think having Hindy here as well really lifted the profile during the week and he's been great.

"It's been totally mad in this weather, but I suppose we'll sleep it off when we get home."

The trio came from Tamworth yesterday morning with other stops at places like the Hunter Valley over the weekend.

After joining in with the kids yesterday, the recently retired Eels captain said he had no plans to return to the NRL this year.

 

Nathan Hindmarsh and Eric Grothe sign autographs at Ballina Seagulls Rugby League Ground.
Nathan Hindmarsh and Eric Grothe sign autographs at Ballina Seagulls Rugby League Ground. Patrick Gorbunovs

Hindmarsh retired after 330 games at the one club and also represented NSW and Australia.

 

"I was not moving well out there at all and I'm feeling it now," Hindmarsh said.

"There definitely won't be a mid-season comeback or anything like that from me. The boys are enjoying their time under Ricky (Stuart) but it's hard to tell.

"I've played many years where I thought 'this could be our year' and we never quite got there."

Fittler didn't miss a beat though, whether it was hitting the tackle bags or kicking the footy around.

He hoped Roosters second-rower Mitchell Aubusson would return to do the same thing at Ballina when he retired. Aubusson is a Ballina junior and made his NRL debut when Fittler was the coach at the Roosters in 2007.

"Aubusson has been a good player for a few years now and I always knew he would do well," Fittler said.

"If you look at any team, all the big names are supported by blokes in the background doing a really good job.

"Mitch has been surprising people since the first game he played and I think he'll keep going."



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