Johnathan Thurston rounds up legends in floods fundraising appeal, State of Origin jersey auction, NRL Flood Fundraising Appeal

By Chris De Silva and Marc Churches

As the floods continued to ravage through Queensland and New South Wales, rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston knew he had to do something.

Having played 294 of his 323 career NRL games in North Queensland, Thurston was used to seeing natural disasters in the area, but this time the devastation was on a larger scale.

The memorabilia room inside Thurston’s house is fit to be a rugby league museum. It contains dozens of game balls from his many iconic games. The walls are draped with framed jerseys.

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Thurston walked inside and had an idea about how he could assist those whose lives had been turned upside down by the floods.

“Seeing on the news the devastation through southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales with the floods, people have lost everything, so to raise funds I thought I’d donate a State of Origin jersey,” he told Wide World of Sports.

Thurston settled on one of his most treasured momentos: a game-worn jersey from The 2007 State of Origin series.

Thurston in Game 1 of that series was famously named the Player of the Match in a 25-18 Queensland win.

“We won 2-1 that year, but that was also our first win in Sydney [in Game II] in 12 games,” he recalled.

“I treasure all my jerseys in that arena, but I thought that was a pretty special one, having that first win in Sydney in 11 games.

“I think that might’ve also been my first win in an Origin in Sydney as well, so it’s a very special jersey.”

To place a bid, CLICK HERE, then click on the ‘Register’ button. Then enter your details and click ‘Register’. Once you’ve done that follow the prompts, log in with your registration information and start your bidding.

However, Thurston knew his jersey alone would not be enough, so he came up with an idea.

“I spoke to Fordo (Nine’s Head of NRL, Simon Fordham) about it and then I started asking the other boys on the commentary team if they could get onboard,” he said.

“Obviously these jerseys are very treasured items to everyone that’s worn that jersey, so I felt uncomfortable asking, but they all jumped onboard straight away.

“They’ve obviously supported us players in the Origin arena and in club footy and Test footy.

“They’re doing it tough and I thought this was a small way to support them through a very difficult time.”

Thurston was taken back by the support he received from his fellow NRL greats.

Along with Thurston’s 2007 jersey, Brad Fittler’s 1993 Game 2 jersey, Darren Lockyer’s 2006 Game 1 jersey, Greg Inglis’ 2013 Game 3 jersey, Billy Slater’s 2017 Game 2 jersey, Cameron Smith’s 2013 Game 3 jersey, Sam Thaiday’s 2011 Game 1 jersey, Paul Gallen’s 2016 Game 2 jersey, and Andrew Johns’ 2003 Game 1 jersey will all be auctioned off as a part of the NRL Flood Appeal Auction.

“It was (a hard decision),” Thurston admitted. “Speaking to the other boys as well, they’ve all dug into their collections.

“It’s such a tough decision, but it’s a decision the boys have jumped onboard with, all because we’ve seen the devastation the floods have caused and it’s a small token that’s hopefully going to make a difference in the lives of people that have been affected by the floods.”

“In recent days we have been blown away by the generosity of our commentators who have decided to donate their SOO playing jerseys to help raise funds for those affected by the floods in Queensland & New South Wales,” Fordham added.

“Johnathan Thurston has driven this concept from the beginning and secured support from Billy Slater, Andrew Johns, Cameron Smith, Brad Fittler, Darren Lockyer, Sam Thaiday, Paul Gallen and Greg Inglis.

“The generosity of these rugby league legends will make a difference to the areas of the rugby league community that desperately need it.”

Fans will be able to place bids on the iconic State of Origin jerseys for two weeks, with the total sum of money raised going directly to the NRL Flood Appeal Fund.

The fund will directly help junior football clubs in both Queensland and New South Wales that have been affected by the floods. To place a bid, CLICK HERE, then click on the ‘Register’ button. Then enter your details and click ‘Register’. Once you’ve done that follow the prompts, log in with your registration information and start your bidding.

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