Thousands of State of Origin tickets will be given to SES volunteers and other emergency services workers who helped save lives and homes during the storms which hit NSW last week.
Premier Mike Baird and NRL CEO Dave Smith said the whole community was grateful for the gruelling and often dangerous work performed by the state’s emergency services workers during the atrocious conditions.
As a tribute to the workers, at least 2000 tickets to the first State of Origin match at ANZ Stadium on May 27 will be given to SES volunteers, Police, Fire and Rescue, RFS and NSW Ambulance officers.
In addition, a special video tribute will be played before the match – and emergency workers who battled through the storms will be invited on to the field of play.
Mr Baird said the gesture would give families across Australia a chance to thank emergency services workers for their bravery and hard work during the storms.
“We all owe our emergency services volunteers and workers a debt of gratitude and this will provide an ideal forum for the public to say thank you,” Mr Baird said.
“Their work will be recognised before a huge crowd at ANZ Stadium. I cannot think of a better way to thank emergency services workers than before a packed stadium on one of the biggest sporting nights of the year.”
Mr Smith said the provision of State of Origin tickets was the NRL’s way of paying tribute to the work of SES volunteers and emergency services workers.
“State of Origin is the premium sporting event in Australia and we hope those who worked so hard during the storms can take time out to enjoy it,” he said.
SES Commissioner Adam Dent said the SES volunteers appreciated the offer.
“This is an amazing gesture for our volunteers and staff who have worked tirelessly over the past week to protect communities and help get them back on their feet.”
The NRL will provide the tickets to the relevant NSW Government agencies for distribution to personnel who worked during the storms.