The worst of Tropical Cyclone Debbie’s trail of destruction may still be ahead for many Queenslanders, but the Cowboys and Titans have ventured out to flood-ravaged areas to deliver donations and put smiles on faces again.
TC Debbie thundered onto the Queensland coastline last Thursday with devastating consequences all the way down into northern New South Wales, with towns such as Bowen, Airlie Beach and Proserpine the most severely affected by the cyclone's ferocity.
Further south, swollen rivers burst their banks in towns such as Lismore and Murwillumbah, cutting off the Pacific Motorway and causing widespread damage to property in addition to some tragic loss of life.
In Rockhampton, locals are still waiting for the Fitzroy River to reach its estimated peak of nine metres tomorrow (Thursday) morning, just below the 9.4m mark that the city experienced in their worst ever floods in 1954.
With Townsville escaping much of the carnage last week the Cowboys sent Queensland Maroons Justin O'Neill, FOGS Brent Tate and Matt Bowen and CEO Greg Tonner on a tour of the affected regions on Tuesday, with their presence alone helping locals to forget even momentarily the enormous clean-up task that awaits them.
Matt Bowen shows off some of the damage from recent wild weather. Photo: NQ Cowboys
The quartet surveyed the extensive damage at the Bowen Sporting Complex, Whitsunday Sports Park in Airlie Beach and the Les Stagg Oval in Proserpine and helped to raise the spirits of those who have lost everything.
"The club shares in the highs and the lows of fellow North Queenslanders, and the chance to personally meet families and individuals involved was one we jumped at," Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner said.
"We understand the heartbreak so many families must be feeling in the wake of the cyclone’s aftermath, and for us to have the chance to hopefully lift the spirits of our regional members and supporters is one we appreciate."
In addition to their visit on Tuesday, the Cowboys are auctioning off all 17 player-signed, match-worn Captain America-themed jerseys from Marvel Round with all proceeds going towards disaster relief for North Queensland communities affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
The Gold Coast Titans have also reached out to affected areas in northern New South Wales by sending a convoy of buses with donated goods and club merchandise to give to people who must now face the daunting prospect of putting their lives back together one day at a time.
The Titans contingent from the community and game development teams will not only visit junior rugby league clubs throughout the affected regions, but also evacuation points where volunteers are helping those who have had to leave their homes until the waters subside.
Click HERE to bid on any of the 17 Cowboys jerseys up for auction or the “18th Man” jersey signed by injured co-captain Matt Scott.