The Newcastle Entertainment Centre was a buzz with more than 5000 people who turned out to the RiseForAlex Footy Show that had featured a true local flavour with appearances from Newcastle identities Paul 'The Chief' Harragon, Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus.
The Channel Nine Footy Show hosted its program at in Newcastle as part of the Round 19 RiseForAlex Round, in recognition of Alex McKinnon.
A centrepiece of the night was Erin Molan’s interview with Alex McKinnon, Wayne Bennett and teammates Darius Boyd and Korbin Sims.
The touching interview told McKinnon’s inspiring story and how he has touched those around him through his remarkable resilience and strength of character since his injury four months ago.
Aberdeen’s Daryl Bowen performed his his song Alex (Day by Day) for the first time live, after writing it as a tribute to Alex Mckinnon.
Daryl is set to perform the song pre-game this Sunday at Hunter Stadium when Alex McKinnon returns home for RiseForAlex Round in Newcastle
Newcastle’s true spirit was on show when Beau Ryan explored the town’s iconic locations and came face to face with Novocastrians from all walks of life.
Fond memories of 1997 grand final were also rehashed through the eyes of Chief, Buderus and Johns, a win that will forever have a place in Newcastle’s heart.
Current Knights Kurt Gidley, Jarrod Mullen and Robbie Rochow showed off their intellectual talent in the Brain Strain segment.
Meanwhile, almost 200 people including NRL players, Rugby League ambassadors and Telstra employees and NRL staff strapped on their headsets at the Telstra call centre in Sydney to take donations for the RiseForAlex Fund supporting injured Knights player, Alex McKinnon.
Newcastle Knights’, Clint Newton was on deck last night to answer calls from members of the pubic pledging donations to support his teammate Alex McKinnon.
“I spoke to Alex on the phone just coming here and he’s humbled by it everything,” Newton said on Thursday night.
“I think this shows what the rugby league community and the Australian community across the board are prepared to do for people that have been hot with some hard times.”
“We’re all here and we’re feeling for the McKinnon family,” the Dragon’s Trent Merrin said.
“It’s great to see people donate out of their own pockets.”
Fans can make donations by purchasing a RiseForAlex wristband that will be sold at all matches across the RiseForAlex Round (Round 19 & 20) and can also make donations online at www.riseforalex.org.au or by texting RiseForAlex to 0498 555 555.