Storm, Eels support Samoa tsunami relief - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm, Eels support Samoa tsunami relief

01/10/2009 07:41:48 PM Comments (0)

Grand final teams Melbourne and Parramatta, and the NRL, will each donate $10,000 to the Samoan tsunami relief effort.

The Storm and Eels will also observe a minute's silence before Sunday's decider in a mark of respect for the players and officials across the game who have lost family members and friends.

"Our thoughts are with the families and communities affected by this tragedy and also with those who are now suffering as a result of the earthquakes in Indonesia," NRL chief executive David Gallop said in a statement on Thursday.

"Rugby league has strong community ties at every level and has a history of reaching out to help people in need.

"This tragedy will touch all Australians but especially those in the Polynesian community, many of whom are part of the rugby league family."

The NRL's counselling service will be made available to players and officials affected by the tragedy, the league said.

For former New Zealand Test forward Joe Galuvao, preparing for Sunday is the least of his concerns.

Galuvao was still awaiting word from Samoa on Thursday as to whether his wife Maybelle had lost family members in Wednesday's deadly tsunami.

"I talked to my dad last night and he said everyone's pretty good back home. Nothing's too bad there. But I'm still waiting back on my wife's family so hopefully there won't be too much bad news," he told NZPA.

"Other families have had it worse and our prayers go out to them as well. You can't help but feel for them."

Little wonder the Parramatta bench forward was a little distracted at Thursday's grand final breakfast at the Sydney Convention Centre.

He spent most of Wednesday making anxious calls to his father Sam, who was phoning home to try and account for family members in their village of Avao, slightly inland on the island of Savai'i.

"I guess when you're in Samoa everyone's related in a sense," he said.

"I've got a lot of family still back home and my dad keeps touching base with them. Fortunately they're okay.

"My mum and dad were ringing around and I'm sure the lines were going crazy. We're still waiting on news and we haven't got too much detail other that's been broadcast already."

A sombre Galuvao said he'd spoken to friends in the United Kingdom who'd lost family members.

Sunday's decider against Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium would now take on greater significance with league having such a strong connection with Samoa, Galuvao said.

"If anything it's a motivation. You can't really do much about it but we can worry about what we can control and focus on grand final week.

"Hopefully by us preparing well and playing well it might be a comfort for those that are grieving. We're there for them and we're praying for them."

Galuvao is looking to make it two from two in NRL deciders, having won a premiership with Penrith in 2003.

The disaster also touched the Melbourne side, with Kiwis prop Jeff Lima desperately chasing news on his family.

His fiancee Christina received word that her relatives were safe, although the family home had been destroyed.

Lima said his grandparents were his major concern but he hoped they'd be safe because their village was on high ground.

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