Reeling from the destruction caused by devastating fires ripping through New South Wales, the USA Tomahawks and their Rugby League World Cup combatants have donated signed jerseys to support victims of Australia’s bushfire crisis.
Created by Tomahawks forward and NRL veteran Clint Newton, the World Cup Nations’ Bushfire Appeal sees all 14 nations donate jerseys signed by all squad members.
The jerseys will be auctioned off to support the Salvation Army who have begun rebuilding the lives of those who lost their homes.
The NRL is supporting the appeal and will host the auction, which runs for the length of the tournament, on their website.
In conjunction with this, the NRL will also run separate charity initiatives to help victims of the bushfire crisis during the coming weeks.
Dozens of fires are still burning across New South Wales and especially in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, where hundreds of homes have been destroyed and residents evacuated.
Newton, who will play for the Newcastle Knights next season, has family members and friends in the Blue Mountains and Newcastle who have been affected by the fire crisis.
Newton learned of how serious the fires were while preparing for the Rugby League World Cup in England and he immediately contacted other countries to formulate a charity drive.
“After discussing it with my USA Tomahawks’ teammates we felt it was important to give back to the local communities back home,” Newton said.
“The response from the other nations and the NRL with regards to their willingness to help, however possible, is a credit to all involved.
“It shows how much these events have affected players and the rugby league fraternity because every team here has members who have strong ties to the Australian people who have been so deeply affected.
“After getting in contact with the other nations we decided to donate a signed jersey from each country.
“This is the least we can do for those communities back in New South Wales.
“NRL operating officer Jim Doyle has been fantastic as has their entire administration.
“The NRL will run the auction and it will open in the near future for people to begin bidding.”
The Tomahawks and the NRL will release specific details of the World Cup Nations’ Bushfire Appeal auction in the coming days.
The Tomahawks play their debut RLWC game against the Cook Islands in Bristol on Wednesday night (local time).