NRL star lends a hand to flood efforts
RHYSE Martin is backing up from his breakout NRL season and has become of the code's rising stars, but nothing was going to stop Martin from helping his fellow North Queenslanders.
The Bulldogs backrower, who was raised in Proserpine and attended Kirwan State High School, travelled to Townsville on Saturday with a full load of supplies and worked with local fire fighters assisting affected residents.
The former Townsville Blackhawks star organised his collection at short notice, with teammates and friends chipping in, before Martin flew up and delivered the supplies, including cleaning equipment, food and family items, during his volunteer shift.
"I got in, split all the boxes up and some friends of mine took all the family supplies to the women's centre," Martin said.
"All the vinegar, cleaning supplies, gloves and stuff … they all went in the fire truck.
"My partner (Vanessa) really urged me on and she thought it was a good thing for us to do because friends were struggling.
"They were running out of cleaning supplies and mould was growing."
"Virgin looked after us and gave us free excess baggage, and I was allowed to bring as much as I could."
Martin watched unfolding footage of the flooding in shock as friends in Rosslea, Hermit Park and Idalia lost their homes, and discovered his old house also went under.
"It was scary," Martin said.
"I was always touching base with family and friends, just checking on how everyone was going.
"A cousin of mine pretty much lost everything, lost his car and hose and they live in Railway Estate.
"A work friend, he lost pretty much the bottom half of his house … it's very sad to see."
Martin, who returned to Sydney yesterday, spoke with dozens of local residents and said he was struck by their selflessness.
"The thing is people just seem more concerned about their neighbours," he said.
"It's good to see people looking out for each other … it makes you proud to come from up this way.
Martin, who left Kirwan High at the end of 2010 to play SG Ball with the Sydney Roosters, returned to Townsville in 2015 and become one of the Blackhawks' most consistent players, leading to his two-year deal with Canterbury.
He made his NRL debut last year in Round 9 and quickly become a starter in the second row, and converted at over 93 per cent when on kicking duties.
"We don't train on the weekend and the club has allowed me to have Monday off," Martin said.
"The Bulldogs have been very supportive, and also the wider community.
"Living in North Queensland there's always the rain and you expect heavy weather.
"But something like this, you'd never dream of it."
Fire and Emergency Service Townsville station officer Jay Roberts, who had Martin with his crew, said Martin's contribution was exceptional.
"It's always good to see the community giving their support, and Rhyse has been tremendous," he said.
"We can't thank him enough for joining us and giving local residents a helping hand."