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NRL community rally behind Broncos pair in time of need

The NRL community is being encouraged to rally behind Broncos NRLW squad members Toni Hunt and Lavinia Gould as they both endure difficult personal battles off the field.

Hunt, who shared with her journey in returning to the NRLW following cancer treatment last month, recently received news that her cancer had returned and requires further treatment immediately.

Hunt, a mother of three, made her NRLW debut last season before rib pain in the days following turned out to be stage four cancer. Her three children are all under the age of 16 including eight-year son Jai.

Gould's daughter Kaia is currently in a serious condition in hospital following complications after open heart surgery last month with the Broncos hooker, who has been at the club since 2018, taking indefinite leave to support her.

Hunt with her younger son Jai.
Hunt with her younger son Jai. ©Supplied

The Broncos will wear the initials of the pair on their jerseys for the remainder of the season as the rugby league community comes together to fundraise for their families.

Both the Broncos and NRL have pledged to donate to both players with GoFundMe pages set up for the public to assist as they navigate this challenging time.

Broncos coach Scott Prince said the squad were determined to support both players during this difficult time and use them as inspiration towards their run to the finals.

"We all know we're a tight bunch that sticks together. The club from a supportive and financial point of view will be rallying behind them," Prince said.

"The NRL have jumped on board as well which allows us to represent Toni and Lavinia on our jerseys.

Gould with her message to her daughter on her headgear in Round 6.
Gould with her message to her daughter on her headgear in Round 6. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"We want to respect their privacy while also offering our support to them. Toni said it herself, she didn’t want to interfere with the team or their preparation, but the one thing she wants is for this team to be successful.

"That just shows her character. The only way we can repay her is to play to our potential and win footy games.

"You don’t want to look at these things as a driving force to win footy games, but it certainly adds to an area where we want to win – not only for our own hopes of being in that top four, but also the people in and around the place.

"It’s certainly something that will galvanise the side, and it’s another driving force to make this top four. I know for the girls [the jersey] will be special for them taking the field knowing they’re on our hearts."

NRLW stars Millie Boyle, Tamika Upton and Sarah Togatuki are among those to already donate ahead of Round 8 of the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership.

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