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Brett Kimmorley, Jamie Simpson, Luke Priddis, Luke Burt and Chris Heighington were among a host of the NRL’s stars who came together at ANZ Stadium today, to treat a special group of children to an afternoon of Christmas cheer at the NRL Players’ Charity Christmas Party.

More than 30 players from across the NSW-based NRL clubs hosted the annual Christmas event, sharing lunch with the children in the dressing rooms, before taking them through a skills clinic and inflatable obstacle course.

The players also lent a hand during a visit from Santa, giving out presents to the more than 70 children who attended from One Community charity partners the Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia (CHFA) and National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), and the PCYC, Northcott Society and Ronald McDonald House.

“These kids have had a tough year and an event like this really brings a lot of happiness at a time when they need it most,” said South Sydney Rabbitoh and Telstra Ken Stephen Medal nominee Jamie Simpson.

“Having been through a similar situation when I was young, being here for these kids is really important to me and talking to the players here today, we all know what a huge difference it can make to lift their spirits.”

State of Origin sponsor Aussie also shared in the Christmas spirit, with Executive Chairman John Symond presenting a cheque for $15,000 raised by a staff initiative during Origin this year, to the One Community charity partners (CHFA, NBCF, Lifeline and Youngcare).

“These Christmas parties are the culmination of a very successful year for Rugby League’s One Community program,” said NRL Chief Executive Mr David Gallop.

“This year, NRL players spent 22,000 hours in the community, and the NRL and clubs raised $1.8 million for charity – and we are grateful to Aussie and their staff for adding to the program’s achievements through their donation today.

“You only have to watch the enjoyment children get from spending time with the players and Santa to realise the positive impact One Community has.”

Today’s event is the second of two annual NRL Players’ Charity Christmas Parties this year, with the Broncos, Cowboys and Titans hosting more than 70 children at Sea World on the Gold Coast last week.

“The NRL Players’ Charity Christmas Parties are a highlight of the annual One Community calendar and each year we receive great feedback from the children, parents and charities involved,” said NRL Director, Community Relations, Ms Trish Crews.

“The Rugby League community recently celebrated the off-field achievements of our NRL players and grass roots volunteers at the One Community Awards, and the Charity Christmas Parties are another example of the program’s successes.

“The Christmas parties also set the scene for an exciting calendar of One Community initiatives next year including events around the inaugural Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars game, annual Community Carnival and the announcement of One Community’s new charity partners for 2010.”

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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