NRL fans have helped raise $2.55million for the Mark Hughes Foundation in this weekend's Beanie for Brain Cancer round.
Not even the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic could stop fans from rallying behind the cause.
Hughes, the former Knights player whose battle with brain cancer prompted the creation of the foundation, was humbled by the success of the 2020 campaign.
"We are continually blown away at the support from all levels," he said.
"I would like to acknowledge the NRL, Nine, Fox League and all the media for coming together for our cause. Along with the supporters, clubs, players and all coaching staff, CEO’s and referee, everyone comes together to make this such a special round."
"Aside from selling our beanies, the national exposure and awareness for brain cancer and having it in the spotlight gives real genuine hope for brain cancer patients and their families.
Hughes: It’s more than a beanie, it’s a symbol of hope
"The beanie has become a symbol of hope for all of us out there facing this disease. On behalf of the Callander family and the MHF team, a sincere thank you for all your support.
"You are helping us change the outcome for future patients diagnosed. We are truly humbled."
Brain cancer kills more people under 40 yet than any other form of cancer yet receives less than five per cent of Federal Government funding for cancer research.
Interim NRL CEO Andrew Abdo says the success of the weekend says a lot about rugby league fans.
"What I'm most proud about this year is that no matter the obstacle; the game, its fans and our partners have banded together and delivered remarkable outcomes like this weekend," he said.
"It says so much about the strength of the rugby league community.
"I want to particularly thank our players, clubs and broadcast partners for the spirit in which they have got behind the Beanie for Brain Cancer round. And our fans, many are doing it tough, but you still found it in your hearts to order a beanie. Thank you.
"It's a credit to Mark, Kirralee and all the volunteers at the Mark Hughes Foundation who do an incredible job each year making so many beanies available to the community, especially this year given the challenges everyone has faced."
All proceeds raised are directed straight to research and it’s only through innovation and collaboration that better treatments will be found for brain cancer patients.
With the NRL Beanie for Brain Cancer Fellowship recently appointed at The Children’s Medical Research Institute, combined with the ongoing Matt Callander Fellowship at Kolling Institute and $2 million in innovation grants already established, MHF are excited for what the future holds.
Manly coach Des Hasler at the end of his post-match media conference on Sunday after his team's win over Canberra said he wanted to make a special mention about the round.
"What a terrific concept, rugby league gets behind it. Well done to everyone," he said.