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Photo by Charles Knight copyright :   -  Cameron Smith and Paul Gallen pictured at the launch of Rise for Alex

Holden State of Origin captains Paul Gallen and Cameron Smith have taken the rare step of putting aside State rivalries to join forces for Alex McKinnon’s fundraising campaign.

Known for their fierce on-field competition, the captains stood side-by-side today at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, to officially launch the RiseForAlex Round (18-21 July) and detail the ways Rugby League fans and the public can provide support to Alex McKinnon.

“We have put our rivalries aside for a short time today to come together for a cause that is at the heart of every player in the game,” NSW VB Blues Captain Paul Gallen said.

Queensland XXXX Maroons Captain Cameron Smith said that Alex’s road to recovery had been incredibly inspiring for so many.

“Alex's achievement over the past few months shows his incredible courage and positivity.  I think we should applaud Alex’s strength by digging deep and supporting the Rise for Alex round.”

As part of the RiseForAlex round:

•           The NRL will be donating one dollar to the RiseForAlex Fund for every Rugby League Fan who attends any match during Round 19, including the Eels v Rabbitohs game at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta. Click through for all the ticketing details.

•           Fans can make donations by purchasing a RiseForAlex wristband that will be sold at all matches across the RiseForAlex Round (Round 19 & 20).

•           Fans can also make donations online at or by texting RiseForAlex to 0498 555 555.

•           Channel Nine’s Footy Show will host a telethon during their broadcast on July 17, with the call centre open from 8:30pm AEST. Telstra will host the call centre with 150 Telstra volunteers and players from several clubs who will be assisting with answering calls during the night.

•           The Daily Telegraph will donate one dollar from every newspaper sold on Saturday 19 June.

The NRL’s broadcast partners Fox Sports, 2GB and Triple M have also thrown their support the round.

In a video update played at today’s launch, Alex thanked the community, his family and his mates for their support.

“Being at the game in Round 19 is going to be a great occasion,” Alex said.

“Newcastle has looked after me and the whole community has looked after me over the last few months.  I am really looking forward to going to the game.

“With the community of the NRL, my family, Teigan, all my mates and everyone from Newcastle, it hasn’t been easy but they have made it a lot easier and I would just like to say thank you.”

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