The links between a Huddersfield Rugby League club and the volunteers tackling the bush fires in Australia will be strengthened further this weekend when Underbank Rangers take on Castleford Lock Lane in the Challenge Cup.
Rangers are aiming to make it through to the next round of the cup – and raise money through donations to help former players and their colleagues battling the blazes threatening huge parts of New South Wales, Victoria and other states.
Aussie Matty Byatt played for Underbank in 2018 but now he is back Down Under as one of thousands of volunteer fire-fighters, while English-born Nath Robinson for Underbank between 2016 and 2018, is also on the front line.
Matty Gruber, who starred last season, is a full time fire-fighter who has just flown home to join the battle.
Underbank coach Richard Knight said: “After a conversation with our ex-chairman, Michael Nasey, who spends half his year in Australia, we thought it was only right to try to raise some money to send over.
“Every day over the past few weeks I have been speaking to ex-players, who are now friends, and hearing about the chaos these fires are causing.
“The club have always had a great relationship with players from Australia. The bravery the fire fighters are showing, especially the volunteers who have very limited training, is unreal and the club are so proud of our very own Nathan Robinson and Matty Byatt.”
The fundraising Challenge Cup match is this Saturday (January 11) at Underbank Rangers Dunford Road ground, Holmfirth HD9 2RR. Kick-off 1.30pm