DrinkWise launches NSW campaign ahead of State of Origin

June 4, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Ahead of the tomorrow night’s opening round of the 2024 State of Origin series, DrinkWise has partnered with leading government and officiary stakeholders for the rollout of its ‘Always respect, always DrinkWise’ campaign. For this years event, the DrinkWise campaign messaging will be displayed in and around Accor Stadium along with throughout leading retail outlets and venues statewide. 

“DrinkWise has partnered with the New South Wales Government, the New South Wales Police Force, the NRL, Flemington Liquor Accord venues, 1800RESPECT, Men’s Referral Service and 13YARN to promote moderation and respect,” said Simon Strahan, CEO at DrinkWise.

“The campaign highlights the importance of fans behaving appropriately and looking after each other, whether watching the game at home, at the pub or at licensed venues. We want to remind all fans to enjoy the great State of Origin moments on offer and encourage them to reach out to support services if they need help or advice about their behaviour or consumption.” 

Research conducted by DrinkWise last year shows that 86% of adult NRL fans believe that having a drink or two at a sporting event is an Australian tradition. The same report also revealed that 95% agree it’s important that people drink responsibly. NSW Police Force Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden believes that the responsible consumption of alcohol at sporting events is steadily increasing.

“Every year, fan behaviour has been improving and we are confident this will be evident at this year’s match in Sydney,” he said.

“If you’re planning to drink and attend the game, leave your keys at home and seek alternative transport arrangements. We will be vigilant in protecting the safety of all patrons, so if you see anything concerning, please contact a member of the police.”

This year’s awareness campaign will also feature recorded social media messages from NRL figures such as Lindsay Collins, Tamika Upton, James Tedesco and Kezie Apps. NSW Blues player James Tedesco said, “as we strive to win the coveted shield, we want to remind all NRL fans to be respectful to one another. If drinking, keep an eye on your alcohol consumption. Drinking to excess can not only ruin your own experience watching the match, but it can ruin it for those around you too.”

Flemington Liquor Accord, Coles Liquor, Endeavour Group and Retail Drinks Australia have committed to displaying ‘Aways respect, always DrinkWise’ messaging throughout their member venues. 

“It’s important to take a collaborative approach to health and safety and this initiative demonstrates how the government, NSW Police and the community can work together to create a healthier, safer drinking culture,” said Jodie Harrison, New South Wales Minister for Women. 

“The NSW Government is pleased to be partnering with DrinkWise on the Always respect, always DrinkWise message to continue educating NRL fans about drinking responsibly and reinforcing expectations about behaviour.”

State of Origin round one kicks off tomorrow night at Sydney’s Accor Stadium. Following that, round two will take place on June 26 at the MCG. Round three, the final round, will take place on 17 July at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

NRL’s CEO Andrew Abdo said “the NRL is proud to partner with DrinkWise to promote the Always respect, always DrinkWise campaign. 

“State of Origin is one of the biggest events of the sporting year and we want to ensure fans celebrate the great moments of the games in a fun and responsible manner,” he said.

Established in 2005, DrinkWise is an independent not-for-profit organisation working towards the goal of creating a safer drinking culture in Australia. It’s ‘Always respect, always DrinkWise’ campaign has already been successfully rolled out at other major Australian sporting events such as the recent AFL Gather Round

A few other recent DrinkWise initiatives include the revival of its underage drinking campaign, its free ‘Stay tasteful while tasting’ scratchies that all cellars doors are encouraged to use, a campaign to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and the rollout of in-store signage offering easy access to alcohol abuse support services across all 960 national Liquorland, First Choice Liquor Market, and Vintage Cellars stores.

For more information, visit drinkwise.org.au.

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