'We all want to help': NRL's incredible bushfire support plan

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NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has announced the opening week of the 2020 season will be a dedicated Bushfire Appeal Round to raise money for those affected.

It comes as fellow sporting bodies AFL and Cricket Australia begin considerations to host special matches to aid the bushfire appeal and sporting stars around the country unite in their support.

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The NRL's plan will form part of a whole-of-game approach.

Internal teams across the QRL, NSWRL and the RLPA have been formed to develop a plan to have the biggest possible impact.

Details are still being finalised but Greenberg has confirmed the dedicated opening round is just one element of a coordinated response from the major rugby league arms.

The NRL is also putting plans in place to honour and emergency services personnel and volunteers during the round.

"Our clubs and our players have so many links to these communities which have been impacted by these devastating bushfires," Greenberg said on Wednesday.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg confirmed proceeds from round one would go towards the bushfire relief. Pic: Getty
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg confirmed proceeds from round one would go towards the bushfire relief. Pic: Getty

"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."

The opening round of the season kicks off on March 12 between Parramatta and Canterbury at Bankwest Stadium, with matches being played in Canberra, Newcastle, Townsville and Wollongong, as well as in Sydney.

NRL latest to offer huge support for bushfire relief

Already clubs have begun making individual donations to the cause.

On Tuesday, the Bulldogs donated $50,000 while Penrith are hosting a fundraiser for the Rural Fire Service at Panthers Stadium on Saturday with an open training session and barbecue breakfast.

The NRL’s announcement comes amid a flurry of incredible gestures from the Australian sporting community.

Nick Kyrgios kicked off a wave of donations in the tennis world, while cricket great Shane Warne is auctioning off his famous baggy green cap for the cause.

Australia’s NBA stars have also partnered with the American league to pledge a whopping $750,000 to the bushfire relief, with Tennis Australia also announcing that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios will headline a charity exhibition event later this month.

Australian Open tournament organiser Craig Tiley told reporters on Wednesday that Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniaki and Stefanos Tsitsipas will also take part in the Rally for Relief event to be held on the evening of Wednesday, January 15.

"For a period of about two-and-a-half hours we're going to be showcasing the game, but also coming together as a community to play our part in the relief effort," Tiley said.

With AAP

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