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Posted by RLPA

February 27, 2016

Rugby League supports UNICEF Fiji Appeal

The  NRL has donated $50,000 to support the UNICEF Fiji appeal for victims of Cyclone Winston as the Eels urges fans to dig deep at this week’s season opener to help the cause.

“I think everyone in Australia was devastated to hear of the loss of life and destruction caused by Cyclone Winston,” Australian Rugby League Commission Chair John Grant said.

“The rugby league community in Australia has close ties to Fiji, and some of our finest and most popular players come from Fiji.

“So we have no hesitation, on behalf of the game, in kicking off the fundraising campaign with a donation of $50,000.

In addition to the donation, the NRL has pledged to continue to work with UNICEF and their rapid response network and is encouraging fans and communities to support the appeal and the people of Fiji as they start to rebuild.

“We work closely with the Fijian Rugby League authorities to develop and promote the game and you cannot help but be impressed by the warmth and talent of the Fijian people,” said Grant. “I know that the people of Fiji are resilient and they will rebuild and I am encouraging all our fans to get behind UNICEF’s appeal to assist with the recovery operations.”

The local NRL Fiji office staff thankfully survived the cyclone uninjured and have been helping out with recovery and clean up efforts on the island of Suva. The team are providing support to local schools and communities that have been affected by catastrophic circumstances.

NRL legend and community ambassador Petero Civoniceva, said he was praying for the people of Fiji and his homeland.

“Thousands of people have been displaced and families have been lost to this powerful storm,” said Civoniceva. “I am devastated for my people of Fiji and I know that as a game, we will do whatever we can to assist those affected as they go through this difficult time.”

The Dyldam Parramatta Eels will support the appeal for at Thursday night’s NRL Telstra Premiership season opener at Pirtek Stadium where volunteers will be aroud the Stadium precinct collecting for the appeal.

“The Parramatta Eels have a large fanbase in Fiji and after the devastation of Cyclone Winston, it was very important for us to lend our support,” Parramatta Eels CEO John Boulous said.

“The Blue and Gold Army has proved to be very generous in the past, and I’m sure all our Members and fans will dig deep and show their support for a very worthy cause.”

Fiji representative player and two-time Dally M Winger of the Year, Semi Radradra, will donate his boots from the Round 1 blockbuster against the Brisbane Broncos to be auctioned.

The Eels will donate two dollars from every “Semitrailer” t-shirt sold at the game, and through the generosity of Eels Ambassador Jay Huxley, will auction a number of inner sanctum experiences with all proceeds going to the UNICEF appeal.

UNICEF Australia Chief Executive Adrian Graham said they were moving quickly to provide aid to the people of Fiji.

“UNICEF is urgently responding to the needs of children and their families in Fiji,” said Graham. “With whole villages having been wiped out, the needs are immense and our priority is to reach the most vulnerable.

“Most of the people who live in Fiji are affected in some way, including more than 120,000 children who need help to return to their normal lives. Our primary focus is providing water and sanitation kits, as well as education and health supplies.

“We thank the NRL and the Rugby League community for their support for the people of Fiji and we urge those who can to please donate now to the Fiji Appeal.”

The NRL has consistently aided UNICEF in responding to the needs of children and communities in the Pacific region, with the Rugby League community having rallied around response efforts to Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in March 2015.

Donations to the UNICEF Fiji appeal can be made at

Photo: Semi Radradra will donate his boots for auction to raise funds for the Fiji appeal. (


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything it does. Together with its partners, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

In Australia, UNICEF works with government and advocate bodies to defend children’s rights and support international development programs. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information about UNICEF Australia and its work visit:

  • $30 can provide four blankets to families who have lost their houses in the storm, keeping children warm.
  • $54 is enough to supply a family with an emergency water kit, which includes buckets, soap, water purification tablets, sanitation and hygiene items. This ensures a family has safe drinking water in an emergency where clean water is scarce.
  • $80 can provide 10,000 water purification tablets. Each tablet provides a family with two litres of clean water – essential when water is contaminated in an emergency situation.
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