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Capewell calls out for drought relief support

Hailing from the remote outback town of Charleville in south-west Queensland, Sharks utility Kurt Capewell has never strayed from his country roots.

That's why the current plight of Australia's drought-stricken farmers pains Capewell more than most.

About a month ago, the 25-year-old headed back to his home state during a stint on the sidelines with a broken thumb.

What he saw reinforced just how dire the farmers' situation is.

"I only got as far as Toowoomba but it was pretty dry, and I know a lot of the areas around there are farming areas," Capewell said.

"They're all struggling at the moment. Not only our cattle farmers, sheep farmers and the livestock industry but the whole of inner Australia. From farmers who are struggling to keep their lively hood to the small country townspeople that struggle as a result.

"It's a shame. It's hard to explain sometimes to people down here in Sydney who live by the beach and don't get to see the dirt roads and paddocks that are bone dry."

Capewell continued to paint a confronting picture of the hardships regional Australians are experiencing.

"Everyone's on their last legs. I've got mates that are working for $3 an hour if they were to sit down and work out their hourly rate," he said.

"Some of them aren't even making money. They're just doing their best to keep their stock alive, so they have something over the next ten years to breed with to make money.

"Some people have got to go out and shoot their livestock because they're going to starve to death. It's pretty heartbreaking for those blokes.

"Everyone in regional Australia is suffering and it would be good to do something about it."

The NRL has already announced an initiative to help: for every point scored in the upcoming finals series, $100 will be donated to Rural Aid or the National Farmers' Federation.

Supporters will also be given the option to donate to the charities when purchasing finals tickets.

Led by Capewell, several Sharks players are using social media to promote donation methods.

Taking it a step further, Cronulla captain Paul Gallen got hands-on in his support for the cause during last week.

On Wednesday, the veteran forward spent his morning brewing coffees at Sydney's VIVO Café, with all sales proceeds going towards drought relief appeals.

In addition to these efforts, the Sharks are planning another fundraising drive in coming weeks – dependent on the NRL team securing a home semi-final, where volunteer staff will be organised and a charity nominated.

Capewell made an impassioned plea for Cronulla supporters to dig deep and support those doing it tough by contributing to any of the fantastic farmers' aid foundations.

"If anyone could just donate even a dollar or two dollars, however much you want to donate. Every dollar will go somewhere where it's definitely needed at the moment," he said.

"If we can all get together, I think we can raise a fair bit of money. These people are so desperate at the moment. It's a tragedy."

All of NSW and more than half of Queensland has been drought declared. While the recent rain was predicted to give farmers some brief respite, the fight is far from over.

To help our hardworking farmers in this time of need, add a donation when purchasing your finals tickets or visit the websites below to donate now.

Rural Aid

National Famers' Federation

Buy a Bale

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour 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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