Rugby League will direct an initial cash donation of well over $100,000 to the Victorian Bushfire victims in the first stage of a support program that hopes to raise tens of thousands more dollars in the weeks and months ahead.<br><br>As well as providing $40,000 to the Red Cross Appeal, Rugby League will provide $30,000 for Lifeline Australia to provide support services for grief stricken families and $30,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia to support the burns unit at Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital.<br><br>The announcement follows close consultation with two of the game’s One Community Charities (Lifeline and Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia) who are themselves part of the assistance effort.<br><br>“This has touched the lives of every Australian,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.<br><br>“Only in Australia it seems could we be devastated by fires in one part of the continent and floods in another, yet it is a part of our national identity that we pull together and lend a hand.”<br><br>Australian Rugby League Chairman, Mr Colin Love AM, said that Rugby League offered its deepest sympathies to all who had been victims of the tragedy.<br><br>“There is only so much that money can repair,” Mr Love said.<br><br>“Our hearts go out to those who have suffered such devastating loss.”<br><br>Lifeline Australia has been stretched to the limit in providing counselling for victims.<br><br>“Lifeline has called for extra volunteers and has activated intensive response activities within our network,” said Chief Executive Officer, Dawn O’Neil AM. <br><br>“We urgently need funds to assist us with co-ordinating our response of extra counselling services and community recovery – at a time when we are already stretched dealing with the Queensland floods.”<br><br>The Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia says funds from Rugby League will go directly to the burns unit of the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, where bushfire victims are being treated.<br><br>“Burns are usually horrific and only the families really see the full extent of the suffering,” Director of the CHFA, Nikki Johnston, said today.<br><br>“Equipment such as respirators that moisten the air to ease a victim’s breathing and ‘turning beds’ can make a big difference as we face on-going challenges in this area.”<br><br>NRL clubs will also manage public collections at key trial matches in the weeks ahead with the Melbourne Storm planning additional donations and a major fund-raiser around their first match at Etihad Stadium. <br><br>The Storm players have announced a season-long commitment to establish The Shire of Murrindindi (which takes in Kinglake) as its major charity focus. <br><br>The players say they will raise funds for infrastructure and sporting facilities.<br><br>The Brisbane Broncos will donate $10,000 to the appeal, in addition to the $10,000 already donated by the Broncos Leagues Club. Players and staff will make personal donations and the club will help organise collections at trials against the Titans and the Raiders over the next two weeks. <br><br>The Knights players are this week conducting a food and blanket drive, Wests Tigers are raising funds at the Foundation Cup match with players and staff to donate money (the club will match player and staff donations) while the Titans players are each making a personal contribution to the Bushfire Appeal.<br><br>The Raiders Leagues club group, has donated $14,000 and further support is on the way from other Leagues Clubs through both Clubs NSW and NSW Leagues Clubs Association.<br><br>