The heart strings are definitely being plucked and sung to in this week’s edition of NRL unsung heroes.
The Kiwis get a go and beanies being adorned around Australia for a good cause lead the charge of heroes in the first week of July.
Unsung hero #1
Mark hughes & the mark hughes fondation
What a fantastic cause the entire NRL competition played for this weekend; raising funds for the Mark Hughes Foundation.
The foundation was initiated by former league player Hughes, diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013.
Now dubbed ‘Beanie Round,’ Hughes and the rest of the NRL were hoping to raise somewhere near $3,000,000 through the sale of beanies for brain cancer research.
Well, the NRL fraternity came to the party.
With over 170,000 beanies sold and eight games played, a final figure of just over $4,000,000 was raised.
What an achievement by Hughes, the NRL and the foundation.
Unsung hero #2
New Zealand Warriors
What a tumultuous two-year period it has been for New Zealand.
Since the COVID pandemic’s start, the Warriors have had to shift over to Australia to compete in the NRL competition.
Players away from families, away from familiar surroundings, and in make-shift homes were just average.
But returning home to Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday afternoon in Round 17 fuelled a famous 22-2 win over Wests Tigers.
The Warriors played some of their best footy for the season and celebrated an emotional homecoming in the best possible fashion.
Unsung hero #3
security guard at Mt Smart Stadium
If a return home to New Zealand was not entertaining enough, enter a streaker onto the Mt Smart Stadium turf.
We are not sure who the streaker was, but he was going to meet his maker only moments after dashing onto the pitch.
A burleigh security guard had roamed his way to the centre of the ground with an eye on taking out the intruder.
After setting his crosshairs on the trajectory of the runner, the security guard locked in his target and fired away with a massive shirt-front to bring him down.
Unsung hero #4
Australian Rugby League Commission
The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) makes the cut this week.
So often, the governing body and its executives are harshly criticised by the outside, but this time they have got it right by giving New Zealand the All-Star game.
The Kiwis have missed out on so much sport in the last two years and deserve their fair share of the pie after suffering under harsh lock-down rules.
With the Warriors winning their first game back at home in two seasons, the Kiwis will be treated to some of the best players in the league, gracing their land.
Unsung hero #5
Brian To’o is a star in the NRL competition for Penrith.
His form has warranted an Origin call-up, and the offer to play at the international level for Australia has been tabled to him this year.
It would be easy to pick the nation that dominates the league internationally, but To’o has opted to don the guernsey of Samoa.
To’o said he is ‘fully committed’ to Samoa in the upcoming 2022 World Cup.
Family and heritage are essential to him, and we have nothing but respect for his decision.
He will make his nation proud.