Forget, for a few moments, lifting the Provan-Summons trophy in the first week of October – the Ice Bucket Challenge is officially sweeping the NRL, all in the name of raising money for Motor Neurone Disease research.
It comes as Motor Neurone Disease Australia (MND Australia) set a world record for mass participation, with 853 people drenching themselves in ice at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium last Friday in the name of the cause.
As anyone from the southern capital will tell you, Melbournites have always been trendsetters, and it's the Storm who have taken the first official plunge amongst the NRL clubs, answering the challenge thrown their way by AFL counterparts Hawthorn.
Cam Smith, Craig Bellamy, Billy Slater and Will Chambers have manned up on behalf of the Purple Pride, donated a team signed 2014 jersey to MND Australia, and called out Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys in the process, meaning the iciest of gauntlets is set to be well and truly thrown around the greatest game of all!
(Stay tuned to see how the Cowboys respond to the challenge...)
Across the ditch in New Zealand the likes of Konrad Hurrell and Manu Vatuvei have gotten amongst it, Parramatta's Jarryd Hayne, Canberra's Joel Edwards and former Bulldog Krisnan Inu have all taken the big freeze – and it's not just the players getting involved.
NRL Digital Media General Manager David Ray took the challenge and has sounded out Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle, Dragons supremo Peter Doust and Roosters head honcho Ted Hellier, ensuring everyone from the game's foot soldiers to the top brass are involved.
And diehard celebrity NRL fans such as actors Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman have also lent their support – Souths fanatic Crowe was nominated by British funnyman Ricky Gervais, while Crowe passed the baton on to his mate and Manly fan Jackman.
Major identities across the world have done it, including Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and former US president George Bush.
An estimated 1,900 Australians are living with Motor Neurone Disease, which affects the nerve cells (neurones) controlling the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow, eventually causing them to degenerate and die.
The average life expectancy of people suffering with MND is 27 months from the time of diagnosis, and there is no known cure for the disease.
To date the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than $200,000 for Motor Neurone Disease research and to support people living with MND in Australia – while in the US more than $41. 2 million has been raised for its main MND charity in the past 10 days alone.
You can read more about it and donate here.
And we'll update you on the latest NRL individuals and teams to participate as they rise to the challenge!