The Charity Shield began in 1982 and so too did the support of local hospitals and on Thursday afternoon, the St George Illawarra Dragons visited both St George and Wollongong Public Hospital ahead of this weekend's Charity Shield clash against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
Australian representative Tyson Frizell, Jacob Host and Taane Milne visited patients at St George Public Hospital, while Jake Marketo, Shaun Nona and Will Matthews did the same at Wollongong Hospital.
"A really important part of playing football is to give back to the community and to do our part not just out on the field," Dragons back-rower Jacob Host said.
"Coming to see the kids at the hospital, if it puts a smile on their face then it puts a smile on my face as well."
In 2017, three charities within the Dragons Community program – the St George and Wollongong Public Hospitals as well as the St. George Foundation will be recognised and receive proceeds from the Charity Shield Match.
"The Dragons are terrific supporters of Wollongong Hospital and we sincerely appreciate their ongoing contribution," Northern Illawarra Hospitals Group General Manager Nicole Sheppard said.
"Over the years, donations from the Charity Shield match have enabled us to enhance patient services throughout the Hospital including the Emergency Department and surgery. We wish the Dragons all the best for the match and the 2017 NRL season."
General Manager of St George Hospital Leisa Rathborne said: "We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support of the St George Illawarra Dragons over the years."
"The money donated from the Charity Shield match will go towards the purchase of a Wireless Gamma Probe, a technological device which is used in the treatment of breast cancer surgery.
"On behalf of St George Hospital, we wish the Dragons a successful match and all the best for the upcoming season."
Match worn player jerseys will be auctioned off post Sunday’s Charity Shield with the monies raised from this auction, forming part of the overall contributions donated to the local hospitals – the auction goes live at 5pm this Saturday, February 18 on our Facebook page.
The Dragons have also donated 40 tickets to each hospital for the upcoming Charity Shield fixture.