Petero Civoniceva joins in the flood clean-up by carrying rubbish out of a Barellan Point home.
Petero Civoniceva joins in the flood clean-up by carrying rubbish out of a Barellan Point home. David Nielsen

NRL players lend helping hand

RESIDENTS of Goodna were left in tears as superstars from the NRL including Benji Marshall, Lote Tuqiri and Nathan Hindmarsh lent their considerable muscle to clean the flood-wrecked suburb.

More than 45 players from the Wests Tigers, Parramatta Eels, Canterbury Bulldogs and Penrith Panthers hit Ipswich suburbs yesterday with shovels in hands.

Rugby league legends, including Mario Fenech and Steve Roach, also waded through mud to assist.

To their credit, this was not for show.

The men worked hard in 30-degree-plus temperatures for the entire day, just as residents have been forced to for a week now.

Their efforts left Brisbane Terrace resident Hai Lam, whose house was swallowed by the Brisbane River, speechless.

“The Australian people are so wonderful and have helped us so much,” she said, fighting back tears.

Ms Lam had lived in the house for 20 years.

“I want to thank all the guys who have helped us today. There's a great spirit in Australia,” Ms Lam said.

Eels new signing and former Ipswich Jets player Chris Walker, brother to Jets coaches Ben and Shane, helped Lam clean her ruined house.

“It's like a bomb hit this area,” Mr Walker said.

“For the first time in my life I'm speechless.

“Seeing the marks on the trees where the water went up to; it's unbelievable.

“Driving in here it was actually amazing to see.

“I still can't believe the amount of water that came through here.”

NRL superstar and New Zealand Test captain Benji Marshall said he felt awful sitting in Sydney watching the devastation.

“I've never experienced a flood myself, but watching the footage, it looked pretty scary,” Mr Marshall said. “I'm overwhelmed seeing it in person.

“Seeing inside these houses, how wrecked they are. It is sad.

“Hopefully being here helps them out and we make the place a bit cleaner.”

The Tigers and Eels worked through Goodna's devastated Brisbane Terrace and through to the St Ives Shopping Centre.

The Penrith Panthers worked Karalee while the Bulldogs went to Gatton.

Eels five-eighth Daniel Mortimer said, as a born and raised country boy it was always Ipswich that he felt most for.

“I'm from a country area in New South Wales, and seeing towns which look like mine destroyed was pretty rough,” Mr Mortimer said.

“I just want to help. “We're just trying to do what we can, and it's great to see all the NRL boys turn up here and help.”

The Tigers will visit the Brothers club this morning to sign autographs.


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