Raymond Terrace ex-footballer's prostate cancer warning

REMINISCING: Former rugby league stalwart Neville Boyes, from Raymond Terrace, is urging all men to get tested for prostate cancer. Picture: Charlie Elias
REMINISCING: Former rugby league stalwart Neville Boyes, from Raymond Terrace, is urging all men to get tested for prostate cancer. Picture: Charlie Elias

The Port Stephens branch of the Men of League Foundation continues to spread its wings across the entire region, supporting the league fraternity in areas of well-being, food vouchers and transport to and from medical appointments.

"Our members are regularly out and about in all parts of the Port Stephens community and beyond, assisting former players, coaches, officials and their families in whatever way we can," Port Stephens Men of League secretary Peter Arnold said.

"Some times it's just a matter of spending a few hours talking about the good old times.

"Our region spreads far and wide, including the areas around Raymond Terrace, Medowie and Tilligerry."

FOCUS: A young Neville Boyes playing for the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs.

FOCUS: A young Neville Boyes playing for the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs.

One of the Raymond Terrace beneficiaries is 75-year-old Neville Boyes, a 10-year veteran of the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs and three times Newcastle player of the year.

A sporting icon who also excelled in surfing and off-road racing, Boyes - who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer earlier this year - has a stern Movember message to all the men out there who may think they are bulletproof.

"Go and get your PSA checked," he said.

"It doesn't matter how fit and healthy you may feel ... a blood test only takes a few minutes and it could save your life."

Born in Grafton, a young Neville Boyes grew up surfing at Woolgoolga.

He left school at 14, worked in forestry felling timber and in north Queensland cutting sugar cane when a friend asked him for a lift to football training.

"I thought I could play better than some of the guys out there," he said.

"I had my first game at age 18 in reserve grade and the coach came to me at the end of the game asking if I was coming back next week.

"I asked why and he said because you're in first grade."

It was the start of a long career playing in the second and front row for a number of group clubs before settling in Kurri Kurri.

"I was approached by a couple of Sydney clubs including Manly and St George but Kurri Kurri offered me a house and job in the coalmines," Boyes said.

Neville Boyes in action on the race track.

Neville Boyes in action on the race track.

After hanging up the boots Boyes' appetite for adrenaline filled activity drew him to the racetrack where he began driving off-road desert cars.

With an attitude that 'you never know how fast you can go until you crash' landed him in hospital on a couple of occasions with broken bones and other such injuries.

"I was fortunate to have Mobil on board as a sponsor and I sat in with Peter Brock doing laps around Oran Park and met racers like Bob Jane," he said.

Boyes refers to his prostate cancer diagnosis with two years to live as "a big kick in the ass".

"I still have things in life I want to do ... you don't realise the impact it has on family and friends," he said.

"The Men of League have been very helpful, just sitting down and talking allows me to forget about the chemo which can often knock me around for days afterwards.

"The hardest thing is that I feel fine in between the treatments.

"I have always been healthy kite surfing, kayaking, jet skiing. I rode around Australia on my own on a motorbike."

Arnold said that the volunteer members at Port Stephens had organised in excess of 30 hospital visits and transfers in the past 12 months, including home well-being visits, coffee catch ups in the Bay area, plus visits to Karuah, Raymond Terrace, Buladelah and Mallabulla.

"We also provide assistance with vouchers and grants, have helped out the Nelson Bay junior rugby league club with barbecue days and hosted a series of kick-off, bowls and golf fundraising days attended by hundreds of people."

Meanwhile, more than 140 bowlers attended the Port Stephens Men of League charity bowls day held at Nelson Bay Bowling Club last month, which was supported with some terrific help from local businesses.

The non bowlers section was won by the dream team of Ian Ross, Bruce Walker, Charlie and Brandon Haggett, while the bowlers section was taken out by the team of Gary Price, Peter Moxham, Mark Spratford, and Peter Wilde.

The Men of League continues its support of rugby league families in their times of need, and recently four bus loads of retired NRL players visited four NSW regions on the "tackling the drought tour to give people in the country something to smile about in tough times with funny stories of their playing careers, as well as coaching clinics for junior players".

Bruce Walker, state manger who works with the 28 tireless volunteer committees with fundraising across the state, announced on the day that the Men of League foundation had handed out more than $1 million in grants for those in need over the past 12 months.

The Men of League have been very helpful, just sitting down and talking allows me to forget about the chemo which can often knock me around for days afterwards.

Neville Boyes

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