7 feel good rugby league stories from 2016

As you know, at Winners Aren’t Binners we’re all about promoting an ideal image for rugby league. We believe erasing violence from the game starts with creating a better culture for the game through its role models. In terms of reputation, it hasn’t been the best year for rugby league, but here’s a few stories to show that league players aren’t as fearsome as their on-field reputation implies.

  1. Slammin’ Sam’s off-field emotion

When he’s not crashing a live Matty Johns show broadcast, Sam Burgess is as good a player as they come, both on and off-field. After a match against the knights, Sam made one opposition fan’s night, when he embracing them after the game.

Sam Burgess with a knights fan after the Rabbitons-Knights match
  1. Blake Austin’s carpool

On his way to GIO stadium on a cold Canberra day, raiders player Blake Austin spotted a fan waiting at the bus stop, so he decided to offer her a lift. Austin later played down the gesture, saying he simply saw it as two people heading in to the same place. Waiting in the cold, or cruising with Blake Austin? We know which one we’d pick.

  1. Woodsy bares all in PNG

After an impressive performance in PNG, fans couldn’t contain their excitement, and stormed the field. While most Australian players ran to the sheds, Aaron Woods and David Klemmer deiced to give away some league memorabilia. Woods gave away everything he was wearing except his undies and sports vest.

Aaron Woods after the PM XIII’s match against PNG
  1. DWZ goes above and beyond

After Penrith’s last home game of the season, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was chatting with a fan in a wheelchair when he was asked to sign the fan’s jersey, only one problem: he didn’t have a marker. He went to fetch one, only he came back with his boots to sign as a bonus gift.

  1. Coping with origin pressure: Gallen style

Paul Gallen’s last origin game ever was a big deal, but despite this, the blues skipper headed off the Westmead to visit a fan, Kieran, who was battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, in the lead up to match. Gallen wore Kieran’s name of his wrist in his last ever origin game, and vowed to continue paying homage to Kieran for the rest of the season after his passing, just a few days after the match.

  1. Shaun Johnson: Athlete by day, water boy… also by day (source: FOX SPORTS)

In the weekend lead up to New Zealand’s Anzac day match, Shaun Johnson found himself with nothing. So he did what any league player does to prepare for a big game, he asked which junior rugby league team needed a water boy. Johnson lent a helping hand to the Manurewa Marlins under 10s and their coach Zak Ward, who is wheelchair-bound after being hit by a drunk driver last year.

Shaun Johnson with the Manurewa Marlins U10s

7. Tyrone McCarthy – Cutters’ captain fantastic

Where most players would be looking forward to a relaxed off-season, Illawarra Cutters Captain Tyrone McCarthy takes this time to work as co-founder of the full blood project. This initiative uses Rugby League to help young people suffering poverty, conflict, disease and inequality around the world by helping them to strive for a better life. The charity has already spent time educating youth in the UK, Fiji and most recently, Africa. Great stuff Tyrone!

Tyrone McCarthy working with the full blood project

Sources: Foxsports, Foxsports & Global rugby league  


– JN


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