The Rugby League community is set for a weekend of entertainment as the NRL and all 16 clubs band together for this weekend's #RiseForAlex Round.
After announcing a donation last night of $20,000 towards the cause, the Vodafone Warriors will take on the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night in one of eight matches dedicated to supporting the campaign in a variety of ways.
The Vodafone Warriors will then turn their attention to acknowledging #RiseForAlex at home a week later when they take on Manly at Mount Smart Stadium on July 27.
The special round was launched earlier this week and kicked off in earnest with a #RiseForAlex Telethon run in conjunction with The Footy Show last night.
The real action begins tonight when Parramatta hosts South Sydney at Pirtek Stadium and Cronulla faces North Queensland at Remondis Stadium.
In Melbourne, AAMI Stadium will play host to The Voice finalists C Major, Elly Oh, Soli Tesema and Julian Simonsz as they perform for fans.
The Wiggles will be performing before the Wests Tigers v Bulldogs match at ANZ Stadium in preparation for their national and arena BIG SHOW! Tour in November and December 2014.
McKinnon’s home ground Hunter Stadium has an entire entertainment precinct prepared for punters on Sunday with performances by entertainers Jessica Mauboy, Jai Waetford and Taylor Henderson as well as rides, free skills clinics and family entertainment.
Anyone attending any match during Round 19 will be making a donation to the #RiseForAlex Fund; the NRL will donate one dollar to the #RiseForAlex Fund for everyone attending any game.
AAMI Stadium has also committed to donating an additional dollar for every supporter who attends Melbourne’s game against Canberra on Saturday.
Allianz Stadium will join in on the additional donation commitment by contributing one dollar for every person who comes through the gates at the Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers match on Saturday.
At ANZ Stadium, NRL club ticketed members and fans who buy a ticket to any NRL game over the weekend can gain free entry to the Wests Tigers v Bulldogs match.
“We are hoping for an enormous turn out from the rugby league community during #RiseForAlex Round," said NRL chief executive Dave Smith.
“Fans only need attend to make their contribution, as the NRL will donate one dollar for every fan, so I encourage everyone to support their team and at the same time make a difference.”
On top of the entertainment and stadium donations, one of a kind charity auctions will be occurring at games with rare items available for bidding.
Items such as a one-off #RiseForAlex Cronulla Sharks jersey signed by the Cronulla Sharks squad; Trent Merrin’s 100th game day boots; and signed player jerseys are just some of the ticketed items up for auction throughout the round.
RiseForAlex Fund Chair Terry Lawler said: “The amount of support that all of the clubs have shown is incredible. It shows the strength and solidarity of the rugby league community who join together to support one of their own.
“With such great entertainment available, it really is a fantastic opportunity to watch a game and support young Alex McKinnon.”
#RiseForAlex wristbands will also be on sale at all matches during Round 19 and 20.
A full schedule of activity across each game over the round is below.
FRIDAY, JULY 18
Cronulla Sharks v North Queensland Cowboys, Remondis Stadium
The Cronulla Sharks will wear a one off #RiseForAlex jersey during the match. The jersey will then be signed by the entire playing squad and auctioned off.
Game day interview with legend Ben Ross
Johnathan Thurston will wear a special number 16 jersey during the match in tribute to Alex who’s number 16 jersey was retired from the Knights following his injury
Parramatta Eels v South Sydney Rabbitohs, Pirtek Stadium
RiseForAlex Fund Director David Stockwell will officially launch the round with an interview at Pirtek Stadium
SATURDAY, JULY 19
Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers, Allianz Stadium
Allianz Stadium will donate one dollar for every fan attending the match to the #RiseForAlex Fund
Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders, AAMI Park
AAMI Stadium will donate one dollar for every fan attending the match to the RiseForAlex Fund
The Voice finalists C Major, Elly Oh, Soli Tesema and Julian Simonsz will perform live
Brisbane Broncos v Vodafone Warriors, Suncorp Stadium
An auction will be held to raise funds for the #RiseForAlex Fund (including a Vodafone Warriors jersey)
SUNDAY, JULY 20
Newcastle Knights v Gold Coast Titans, Hunter Stadium
Dedicated entertainment precinct from 11am with rides, skills clinics and family entertainment
Performances by Jessica Mauboy, Jai Waetford and Taylor Henderson
Alex McKinnon attending the match
West Tigers v Canterbury Bulldogs, ANZ Stadium
NRL club ticketed members who purchased a ticket to any game during Round 19 can attend the match for free
The Wiggles will do a special performance ahead of their BIG SHOW! Tour in November and December
MONDAY, JULY 21
St George Illawarra Dragons v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, WIN Jubilee Oval
Trent Merrin will auction his 100th game boots for the #RiseForAlex Fund