Leading NRL players including Wade Graham, Damien Cook, Nathan Cleary and Ben Hunt will front a vaccination campaign designed to “get our lives back’.’
In a historic moment for the code, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has backed the game’s most influential voices, who have stepped forward to encourage fans and communities to vaccinate, particularly in the NSW outbreak hubs of southwest and western Sydney.
Cronulla Sharks player Wade Graham is keen for travel to open back up so he can visit his wife’s family overseas. Picture: Sam RuttynSource:News Corp Australia
The campaign, backed by The Daily Telegraph, is titled Let’s Tackle This Together and features men and women from across the NRL and NRLW competitions lending their powerful voice towards a vaccinated nation.
“I’m getting vaccinated because I want to go back to spending time with my family and friends,’’ Cleary says in the video campaign.
Hunt, the star halfback for the Dragons, declares: “I’ll be getting vaccinated because I have two young boys and my family live interstate and we would all like to see each other.”
The campaign is set to launch across TV, radio and the NRL’s social media platforms from Friday night.
Penrith Panther’s player Nathan Cleary is getting vaccinated because he wants to be able to see his family and friends again.Source:Supplied
Born and raised in Blacktown, Cronulla captain Wade Graham has already received his double-dose of vaccination jabs.
His reason for putting his face and name to the campaign was simple.
“To get back to doing things as normally as possible, this seems the only way,’’ Graham said.
“As far as I’m aware, Covid is here and it’s never going away. For me, I’d rather face it being vaccinated than face it not being vaccinated.
“On top of that, Karianne (Graham’s wife) is from Canada, so I want to tick every box so that as soon as we’re allowed to travel, we’re able too.’’
Asked what he would say to rival players or people within the community who holds fears about getting vaccinated, Graham said: “I’ve followed medical advice since the day I was born.
“Now, after 30 years, why would I ignore that advice? It’s an easy decision. The medical advice is that this is the way forward.’’
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has backed the game’s most influential voices, who have stepped forward to encourage fans and communities to vaccinate. Picture: Sam RuttynSource:News Corp Australia
Abdo praised the leadership of the players and staff who, aside from Graham, Cook, Cleary and Hunt, took part in the campaign, including Isaiah Papalii (Eels), Kyle Flanagan (Bulldogs), Corey Waddell (Bulldogs), Joe Stimson (Bulldogs), Jarrod Wallace (Titans), Elliott Whitehead (Raiders), Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles), Lachlan Croker (Sea Eagles), Taniela Paseka (Sea Eagles), Danny Buderus (Knights), Adam O’Brien (Knights), Christian Welch (Storm), Chris Smith (Storm), Kennedy Cherrington (NRLW Eels), Luke Garner (Wests Tigers), Ben Te’o (Broncos) and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Cowboys).
“This is a crisis that has been going on for two years and is likely to impact us for some while to come,’’ Abdo said.
“We know that thousands of Australians look at our players as role models and this is an opportunity to use our voice and encourage positive outcomes for the communities.
“Vaccination is the only way we’re going to get out of lockdown. And it’s the only way we’re going to get borders back open and people being able to travel again domestically and internationally.
“The players are prepared to put themselves forward as role-models and whenever you do that, you always run the risk of being targeted.
“We’re going to support them and monitor that because they’ve been incredibly brave to put their name to an extremely important campaign.’’
Abdo added that a game-wide vaccination policy wouldn’t be implemented until the end of the 2021 season.
“We’ll get to that in time but right now, the players have shown a strong interest to receive as much information as they can, so as the season comes to an end they can start making their plans to get vaccinated,’’ Abdo said.
“Our policy right now is pretty simple; educate, communicate and then facilitate as many players as possible.’’
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAY:
Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers): “I’m getting vaccinated because I want to go back to spending time with my family and friends.”
Danny Buderus (Newcastle Knights): “I will be getting the vaccine because I want to protect my family and especially my kids. I want to see their life get back to some form of normality.”
Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons): “I’ll be getting vaccinated because I have two young boys and my family live interstate and we would all like to see each other.”
Isaiah Papali’i (Parramatta Eels): “I’m getting vaccinated so I can go back to New Zealand to see my family.”
Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders): “I’ll be getting vaccinated so I can travel abroad and see my family in the UK.”
Christian Welch (Melbourne Storm): “I’m getting vaccinate because it’s our quickest path back to normality and to keep our community safe.”
Ben Te’o (Brisbane Broncos): “I’ll be getting vaccinated because it’s the right thing to do. I want to set an example for my children, protect my family, my community and do my bit.”
Kennedy Cherington (NRLW Eels): “I got vaccinated to be able to travel to Perth to see my family.”
Originally published as‘Let’s get our lives back’: NRL players lead vax campaign
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