Round 1 of 2020 season to serve as Bushfire Appeal Round
Wed 8 Jan 2020, 11:21 AM
The opening week of the 2020 NRL competition will be a dedicated “Bushfire Appeal Round” to raise money for victims and honour emergency services personnel and volunteers.
The move is just one element of a coordinated response from the major arms of the rugby league family - NRL, RLPA, QRL and NSWRL - to help those affected by the bushfire devastation.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said on Wednesday that internal teams across all governing bodies had been created to focus on a coordinated approach that will provide practical assistance to Australians in need.
Further meetings and briefings will be held to formulate plans and responses.
But first up will be the eight games from round one starting on March 12 with the Eels-Bulldogs blockbuster at Bankwest Stadium.
That will continue over the weekend with games in Canberra, Townsville, Wollongong, and Newcastle as well as Sydney based venues, to capture large parts of the country closely affected by the fires.
“Our clubs and our players have so many links to these communities which have been impacted by these devastating bushfires,” Greenberg said.
"Everyone I have spoken to wants to make a difference, we all want to help. The most effective and efficient way to do that is together in one coordinated response - a response that is both meaningful and provides communities with the assistance they need as they repair and rebuild.
“We know that rugby league is an integral part of these communities and we can make a real difference when our various bodies work together as one and that’s exactly what we are doing - from country rugby league right up to our elite NRL clubs.”
Already many NRL clubs like the Bulldogs, Wests Tigers, Penrith, and players across the men’s and women’s games have announced donations, fund-raising activities, auctions, game-day experiences, open training opportunities to provide help.
Knights forward Aidan Guerra is auctioning some of his Queensland Origin jerseys, while the Dragons are also auctioning signed jerseys.
Guerra auctions Origin jerseys
Ferguson helping bushfire relief efforts
Several high-profile players including James Tamou have been actually fighting the fires near the homes of family and friends, while others born-and-raised in the bush like Kezie Apps and Millie Boyle have been sorting clothes and goods at their local community halls.
Former Jillaroo Allana Ferguson has been active in the Lake Conjola area, where her family has a holiday home, distributing individual care packs, generators, food parcels, water and medical supplies.
But with the additional power of the state leagues behind the campaign, the message is spread even wider.
NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said a number of State of Origin stars had visited bushfire affected regions prior to Christmas and players wanted to do more to assist in the coming weeks.
“Rugby league is part of the social fabric of so many of these communities. We owe it to these communities to make a practical difference. That’s why we are working together so we can provide the most effective assistance possible,” he said.
QRL Managing Director Robert Moore said the game was looking at long term assistance.
“The bushfire disaster spans well beyond the current emergency. These communities will need our assistance long term. That’s why we are looking at a whole of game response, across all levels that addresses long and short term assistance,” he said.
Everyone I have spoken to wants to make a difference, we all want to help
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg
RLPA chief executive Ian Prendergast said players had been deeply impacted by the bushfire emergency.
“So many of our players have friends and families who have been caught up in the disaster. They want to help and are committed to developing a range of initiatives that provide genuine support to those in need. I’m so pleased that as a game we are working together on a coordinated response,” he said.
“Rugby league is a giant community and we can do so much for so many when we work together.”
with my deepest apologies to saints fans, tigers will be dedicating round 1 to a certain firefighter who past away who as a tigers fan, so saints fans dont watch the game if u like seeing ur team smashed by 50+
New items added for Australia Bushfire appeal auction
Tue 14 Jan 2020, 02:07 PM
The thoughts of all at Wests Tigers are with those who have been impacted by the devastating bushfire crisis across New South Wales and Australia as a whole.
Wests Tigers would like to recognise those who have lost so much during this time and extend its thanks to the countless firefighters, emergency services and volunteers for all that they have done so far.
Wests Tigers will continue to work both internally and with the NRL in regard to further response and support that can be given and will provide a number of auction items including money-can’t-buy experiences to raise much-needed funds.
All proceeds will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund which will go to the Australian Red Cross’ work with many communities around Australia impacted by the fires.
Five team-signed and framed 2020 Wests Tigers jerseys are currently up for auction, while two game day experiences including tickets to a fully catered box, private meetings with the coaching staff and team are also available.
Wests Tigers Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership captain Botille Vette-Welsh has also generously donated a pair of signed boots as well as her NSW Origin training shirt to help raise funds for the appeal. In 2019, Vette-Welsh became the first Wests Tigers woman in history to feature in women’s State of Origin.
Auction items will close at 11:59pm AEDT on Friday, January 24, 2020.