Mitch Barnett had originally planned to drive home with a ute-load of groceries on his day off.
Just the 200-odd kilometres to his tiny home town of Wingham trapped in the middle of the north coast's devastating bush fires, the Knights back-rower having watched the region go up in flames on the news for the past week.
His Newcastle teammates got wind of his plans late last week, and started rolling into the club with their own carloads full of non-perishables, water, dog food, sanitary items, clothing and training kit.
New coach Adam O'Brien took one look at the growing pile of good will and recommended a semi-trailer.
CEO Phil Gardner was on the phone soon enough to a mate in the business, O'Brien and his players loading the Carnall removalists truck in between training sessions.
And from Barnett's initial idea to simply head home and do what he could, came a two-day tour of the fire-ravaged region for he and teammate Josh King, along with Knights staffers Monique Maguire, Kelly Furner and Nathan Ryan.
Barnett and King dropped off their own van-load of goods in Port Macquarie on Sunday, then met the truck for trips to Wingham, Taree and Forster on Monday, O'Brien more than willing to give the pair leave from training to do so.
"It's been a full-on day, and hard to see the area like this," Barnett told NRL.com after arriving back in Newcastle.
"My home town Wingham's only got about 4500 people and the town itself is fine. But places like Old Bar right nearby has been really affected though, Harrington and others have been demolished.
"I just kept watching the news and you could see how bad things were and I just felt helpless. I spoke to Monique, we came up with the donations idea.
"I originally figured it would just be a ute load of stuff. But then the boys got behind it, the Newcastle community was the same and the club really got moving too with support and suddenly we're hunting around for a semi-trailor.
"I was blown away by not only the generosity of everyone in Newcastle but how keen the whole club was to help out."
Barnett's family farm outside of Wingham was spared by the fires.
His friends and family endured "a lot of close calls" but don't count among the hundreds that have lost homes and, tragically, six lives across the country since the start of bushfire season a few weeks ago.
Amid the devastation of the rural communities that have given so much to the game, rugby league has joined the rally of support.
Fundraising from last weekend's Legends of League tournament in Newcastle will be donated to bushfire appeals for NSW and Queensland communities.
Latrell Mitchell has spent the past fortnight dominating headlines, but last week he was pitching in with firefighting efforts around Taree.
The sight of King, Barnett and the Knights' donations brought emotions to the surface at times on Monday. As it was for the youngster vowing to wear King's training singlet to bed that night, despite the gifted kit being "five sizes too big for him".
"People were just starting to get back to their homes as the roads were starting to open up so it was pretty eerie and pretty emotional up there in each town," Barnett said.
"But most of the people that were there were the volunteers, and there were a few people on the verge of tears, I guess just the generosity of people who want to help out in some way with a donation.
"We weren't the only ones who had gone along these lines, there were plenty of donation piles there and you could tell people are rallying around these towns.
"The fires have just ripped right through some of these places. It's obviously sad but at times like these you see people coming together as the other side of it, and that's all we're trying to do as well."