As a referee, Mike Lash is well connected in rugby circles.
So, obtaining a signed jersey from each of the New Zealand Super Rugby franchises required no more than a few phone calls.
Mike is auctioning off the jerseys to raise funds for his mental health support group – The Reel Effect.
“I am pretty fortunate to know a fair few guys in the different teams, so it was quite easy really to link up with them.”
All supporters of the Reel Effect, Mike obtained a Blues jersey from former Mako coach Leon Macdonald, a Chiefs jersey from Ryan Coxon, the Hurricanes’ from Du’Plessis Kirifi, Ethan Blackadder donated from the champion Crusaders while Tima Faingaanuku and Rob Thomson provided the Highlander’s strip.
The funds will go towards funding the group’s ‘missions,’ which see a group of men disconnect for a couple of days for a spot of fly fishing and mindfulness.
“The programme is designed to provide an environment for Kiwi men to step away from the stresses and pressures of everyday life. Fly fishing is the vehicle to get outside and speak about those bigger issues.”
Mike says the fundraiser has been well received with punters able to make as many $5 entries as they want.
“There are some pretty staunch Cantabrians who have spent $50 all on red.”
He says it is more important than ever for men to be talking about mental health.
“We want to eliminate the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff and actually be standing on top of it.”
The winners will be drawn at the start of November. To bid on a jersey go to https://www.facebook.com/thereeleffectnz