A Sharks Bush Fire Appeal has been set up in an effort to directly support rural southern NSW communities, sporting clubs or facilities affected by the recent bush fire crisis.
The appeal kicked off when more than 200 players participating in a full-club training session last week made cash donations, with an auction of unique memorabilia items kicking off today.
The auction will include special Sharks experiences, as well as personal items, donated and signed by Sharks players past and present.
Among the first eight items going live today are Mat Rogers' 1995 debut jersey, Bronson Xerri's debut boots, Andrew Fifita’s 100th Sharks game ring and Shaun Johnson's 2017 Rugby World Cup New Zealand Jersey.
CLICK HERE to make a bid
Bids can be made by visiting the link below, with funds collected through the Sharks Have Heart Foundation to be targeted specifically to those in need throughout the affected areas.
All of Australia has looked on in horror at the devastation caused by the fires, with the appeal personal for a number of the NRL squad, head coach John Morris included.
Morris has a sister living in the south coast town of Narooma who while not losing property has seen family and close friends suffer, making him determined to drive the Sharks efforts to assist.
"[My sister's family] is okay but a lot of their friends were affected by the devastation and lost homes and to the point they lost loved ones," Morris said.
"We don't know where yet – we've got to work with the authorities to try and get in – but we want to try and find a little footy club that's lost everything and try and rebuild a footy club.
"That's the goal. We understand it might not be a footy club – it might be another sporting club or a school or something."
The clubs and organisations to which Morris refers to are important pillars within these rural communities and a part of Australian culture, bringing children and families together and are integral to social cohesion within these areas.
The funds collected by the Sharks as a result of the auction and through other fundraising activities will go directly to supporting the affected communities during these tragic times, providing relief and assisting in repairing facilities and replacing lost goods.
In addition to the auction, Morris intends taking the Sharks NRL squad to the south coast to either assist where they can and to help raise the spirits of those affected.
"In the coming weeks, and we are working with the authorities to come up with an appropriate time, I’ll be taking the full Sharks NRL squad to the South Coast to assist with the clean-up and to do what we can to help, while trying to lift the spirits of the locals looking to rebuild their homes and their lives," Morris said.
Those looking to donate, while at the same time wanting to own a special piece of Sharks history, can do so at the below link, with the first eight items now live.
An online donation page has also been set up on the Sharks Have Heart Foundation website. CLICK HERE to view.
Go to the auction link, own your very special piece of memorabilia, while helping to support those in need.