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The Holden Australian Kangaroos and New Zealand Kiwis will pay tribute to the children of fallen and injured soldiers from Afghanistan with the mid-season Test at Allianz Stadium on Friday night supporting the Commando Welfare Trust.

Australian veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a double amputee, Damien Thomlinson, is an Ambassador for the Commando Welfare Trust and he will speak at half-time, while 16-year-old Jacob Till, will do the coin toss.

Jacob’s father, SGT Brett Till, died in Afghanistan in 2009, the same year Damien lost both his legs after a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

The Commando Welfare Trust has been created to support both initial emergency funding and then long term financial requirements of families in times of hardship where existing funding or grants or entitlements no longer provide support.

Friday's event will showcase the best male and female Australian Rugby League players on the same stage for the first time, with the Women's All Stars playing the Indigenous Women's All Stars in the curtain-raiser to the mid-season Test. 

It is the first time the women's teams have played a curtain-raiser to a Kangaroos Test; and the first time a Test match has been played in Sydney in six years.

The women's match will feature an all-female team of match officials with Kasey Badger appointed referee and Belinda Sleeman and Faye Breslin the touch judges. 

A spectacular pre-match ceremony will feature a mini (25-minute) concert by ARIA Award-winning Dan Sultan, anthems sung by New Zealand operatic trio Sole Mio and Australian “Lion King” lead Rebecca Shelley and the NZ haka.

Order of events
6pm: Gates Open
6.05pm: Curtain-raiser Kick-off: Women's All Stars v Indigenous Women's All Stars (2 x 25-minute halves).
6.40pm: Coin Toss - via Commando Welfare Trust: Jacob Till, 16, and brother Ziggy Till with Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith and Kiwis captain Simon Mannering.
7.05pm: Full-time: Women's All Stars v Indigenous Women's All Stars
7.09pm: Pre-match Ceremony begins
– Interviews with Rugby League Ambassadors Nathan Hindmarsh and Joe Galuvao
Welcome to Country – Mrs Marcia Ella-Duncan, La Parouse
7.19pm: Performance by Dan Sultan, two-time ARIA Award-winning “country soul rock ‘n’ roll" singer.
Kids Flag Reveal – children will unveil large Australian and NZ flags
National Anthems to be performed by: Sole Mio (NZ) and Rebecca Shelley, from “The Lion King” (Aus), followed by NZ Haka
8.02pm: Mid-Season Test Kick-off: Holden Australian Kangaroos v New Zealand Kiwis
8.47pm: Half-time entertainment, including tribute to the Australian Men's, Women's and Mixed Touch Football teams, who won the Trans-Tasman Test Series last weekend.
Interview with Commando Welfare Trust Ambassador Damien Thomlinson, an Australian veteran of the war in Afghanistan, who lost both his legs after a bomb blast in 2009. He is also a swimmer, rally car navigator, para-snowboarder and author – and a Roosters fan.
9.47pm: Full-time: Holden Australian Kangaroos v New Zealand Kiwis
9.50pm: Post-game Presentation of Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy, followed by lap of honour

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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