The National Rugby League, state leagues, clubs and the players’ association have joined together to form a consolidated whole of game response to help Australia’s bushfire affected communities.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said internal teams across all governing bodies had been created to focus on a coordinated approach that will provide practical assistance to Australians in need.
The NRL has begun discussions with government and charitable agencies to determine what kind of assistance communities need most and will use those briefings to formulate the most effective response possible.
Round One of the NRL will be a dedicated Bushfire Appeal Round to raise money for victims and honour emergency services personnel and volunteers.
Mr Greenberg said he had spoken with a number of chief executives and players in recent days who want to assist communities destroyed by bushfires.
“Our clubs and our players have so many links to these communities which have been impacted by these devastating bushfires,” Mr 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.”
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.
“We are committed to providing support to those in the affected communities who can and want to play the game they love and be able to do so in the upcoming season.”
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.
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.”