Rugby League greats Andrew Johns and Stacey Jones will "come out of retirement" in a fortnight in the name of charity at the inaugural 2014 Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
Johns and Jones will pull on the boots once again to raise funds for New Zealand charity The Rising Foundation when they line up in the first Beko Media Stars touch football match between New Zealand and Australia to be played prior to the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines final at Eden Park on Sunday, February 16.
The nine-a-side charity touch match will see a select group of former players now working in the Australian and New Zealand media being joined by print, radio and television reporters. The match will be played over two nine-minute halves in front of a crowd of more than 46,000.
Johns will be joined in the Australian side by former Test players Gorden Tallis and Danny Buderus, and ex-premiership winning players Brett Finch and Steve Turner.
The New Zealand side will feature former Kiwi internationals Jones, Richie Barnett, Monty Betham and Wairangi Koopu.
Home appliance brand Beko will sponsor the media match with the aim of trying to raise $20,000 for The Rising Foundation. Beko will donate $2,000 to The Rising Foundation for each try scored in the media match.
The Rising Foundation was established by a group of former South Auckland children with an aim to assisting at-risk-youth to develop to their full potential.
Chairman John Bongard said these children in New Zealand are on the verge of being lost to their families, schools and community.
"The Foundation does this through developing pathways, involving parents, schools and other agencies using outdoor education programs, one to one mentoring and group therapy," Mr Bongard said.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle is on The Rising Foundation Board.
Australian team (not in playing numbers)
1. Andrew Johns, captain (Rugby League Week 'Immortal')
2. Gorden Tallis (Qld Origin, Australia)
3. Brett Finch (NSW Origin)
4. Danny Buderus (NSW Origin, Australia)
5. Steve Turner (ex Melbourne/Bulldogs premiership winning
6. Brent Read (reporter, The Australian)
7. Michael Chammas (reporter, Sydney Morning Herald)
8. Josh Massoud (reporter, The Daily Telegraph)
9. David Riccio (reporter, The Daily Telegraph)
10. Pat Molihan (reporter, Channel 7)
11. Shannon Byrne (reporter, ABC Radio)
12. Steve Hart (reporter, Fox Sports News)
13. Tony Adams (reporter, RLW's 'The Mole')
New Zealand team (not in playing numbers)
1. Stacey Jones, captain (Sky Sport, ex NZ Test player)
2. Sam Ackerman (reporter, TV 3 News)
3. Richie Barnett (reporter, NZ Herald/SKY TV, ex NZ Test player)
4. Jenny May Coffin (reporter, TV 1 News, ex Silver Fern netball player)
5. Monty Betham (SKY Sport, ex NZ Test player)
6. Wairangi Koopu (Sky Sport/Maori TV, ex NZ Test player)
7. Karl Te Nana (reporter, SKY TV/ Maori TV, ex NZ Sevens player)
8. Sam Ackerman (reporter, TV 3 News)
9. Nickson Clark (Mai FM breakfast host)
10. Sam Wallace (TV 1 Breakfast)
11. James McConie (Prime TV)
12. Bryce Casey (The Rock Breakfast host)
13. Dominic Harvey (The Edge Breakfast host)