Queensland clubs rush to help flood victims
The worst of Tropical Cyclone Debbie's trail of destruction may still be ahead for many Queenslanders but the Cowboys and Titans have ventured out to flood-ravaged areas to deliver donations and put smiles on faces again.
TC Debbie thundered onto the Queensland coastline last Thursday with devastating consequences all the way down into northern New South Wales, with towns such as Bowen, Airlie Beach and Proserpine the most severely affected by the cyclone's ferocity.
Further south and swollen rivers burst their banks in towns such as Lismore and Murwillumbah, cutting off the Pacific Motorway and causing widespread damage to property in addition to some tragic loss of life.
In Rockhampton locals are still waiting for the Fitzroy River to reach its estimated peak of nine metres on Thursday morning, just below the 9.4 metre mark that the city experienced in their worst ever floods in 1954.
With Townsville escaping much of the carnage last week the Cowboys sent Justin O'Neill, Brent Tate, Matt Bowen and CEO Greg Tonner on a tour of the affected regions on Tuesday, their presence alone helping locals to forget even momentarily the enormous clean-up task that awaits them.
The quartet surveyed the extensive damage at the Bowen Sporting Complex, Whitsunday Sports Park in Airlie Beach and the Les Stagg Oval in Proserpine and helped to raise the spirits of those who have lost everything.
"The club shares in the highs and the lows of fellow North Queenslanders, and the chance to personally meet families and individuals involved was one we jumped at," said Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner.
"We understand the heartbreak so many families must be feeling in the wake of the cyclone’s aftermath, and for us to have the chance to hopefully lift the spirits of our regional members and supporters is one we appreciate."
In addition to their visit on Tuesday the Cowboys are auctioning off all 17 player-signed, match-worn Captain America-themed jerseys from Marvel Round with all proceeds going towards disaster relief for North Queensland communities affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
The Titans have also reached out to affected areas in northern New South Wales by sending a convoy of buses with donated goods and club merchandise to give to people who must now face the daunting prospect of putting their lives back together one day at a time.
The Titans contingent from the community and game development teams will not only visit junior rugby league clubs throughout the affected regions but also evacuation points where volunteers are helping those who have had to leave their homes until the waters subside.