Rugby League

Heavy hitters lend their profiles to charity at Ricky Stuart golf day

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart beamed with pride as he thanked those who had helped him make building a respite centre a reality at his annual charity golf day on Monday.

And after the ribbon is cut at the Chifley-based facility's opening on Tuesday, his foundation will turn its focus toward building a second centre at Cook.

A host of celebrities, including tennis champion Pat Rafter, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, retired champion jockey Jim Cassidy and State of Origin coaches Laurie Daley and Kevin Walters, lent their support to the cause at Royal Canberra Golf Club.

It is hoped the event will raise in excess of the $250,000 it did last year, and the foundation has already been given approval to build a second centre just for teens thanks to a $1.4 million grant set aside in the ACT budget.

Some of the biggest names in sport and entertainment hit the fairways on Monday to get behind a cause close to Stuart's heart, as his daughter, Emma, has autism.

"I'm so proud of the fact we stuck to our work in regards to wanting to do something for the community here in Canberra," Stuart said.

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"Having the house completed now is a complement to all the people who have helped here in Canberra.

"The people who have sponsored the day, the people who have been involved in building the house, we're so fortunate here in Canberra to have such community minded people.

"We've got a second house just about to start in Cook, all of this wouldn't have got off the ground if we didn't have that relationship with the government."

NRL head of football Todd Greenberg was among the galleries at Royal Canberra and praised Stuart's work.

"It's really important we acknowledge the work that has gone into this over a long period of time," Greenberg said.

"Athletes, coaches and people involved in the game using their profiles to make a difference to others is really important and Ricky has clearly done that."

Postecoglou said it was clear the importance Stuart places in the initiative.

"You can see how much it means to Ricky and when you see that, it resonates with people," he said.

"I think this event is just going to get bigger and bigger."

Rafter added: "We had a good chat about it [foundation] and it's something I'm a big fan of.

"I'm really happy I can be a part of it."

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