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Raiders seek female board member

Raiders’ chairman Allan Hawke. Photo: Rohan Thomson Brumbies board member Carmel McGregor says gender is just one factor in a diverse boardroom. Photo: Graham Tidy
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The Canberra Raiders want to become just the second NRL team with two female board members as the NRL takes steps to make female representation on club boards compulsory to help clean up the game’s image.

Canberra Raiders chairman Allan Hawke confirmed the club is investigating suitable female candidates to join Raiders Group chief financial officer Yvonne Gillett, who was elected onto an eight-person board this year.

The Raiders have one board spot vacant and Hawke confirmed they have identified a number of female candidates worthy of filling the position.

Manly is the only NRL club with two female board members, and most teams don’t have a women on their board at all.

The NRL have drawn up proposed ”model club’ ‘reforms, which include at least one female board member in every club, and the majority of board members to be independent.

The Raiders already meet that criteria as Raiders group general manager Simon Hawkins and Gillett are the only non-independent board members.

Hawke is a long time advocate for more women in executive roles, and the Raiders had been keen to install a second female director before the NRL’s plans became public.

Manly is the one club with two female board members, while North Queensland, Brisbane and Canterbury have women either on the board or chief executive.

“We are examining that issue [second female board member] right now, we just haven’t got to the end of that process,” Hawke said.

“We’ve identified a number of women who could do this, there’s a wide range of suitable candidates we would contemplate joining the Raiders board.

“We’re ahead of the game here, we’ve been going down this road in our own right before the NRL came out with this idea.

“It just gives us a bit of added impetus to do that.”

Hawke insisted the move isn’t in response to the sackings of former Raiders stars Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson, or other unsavoury incidents which have tarnished the game’s reputation.

“We’re doing what we’re doing, because it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

“It will be fascinating to see how other teams deal with this, they’re talking about gender equity.

“This will mean they [rival boards] will have to morph over times as some directors’ terms come up, and look at finding women to replace them.”

He believes the move will help attract more fans, particularly female ones, to the game.

“There’s no doubt in my mind women bring different qualities to a board, and we’re hoping by sending that message in that regard it will help us in terms of our membership drive.

“We’re trying to set the right ethical and cultural base for the team and the Raiders itself, and this is an important part of that.”

Hawke said earlier this year after Gillett was elected that female board representation ”has certainly been a hobby horse of mine, not just the Raiders board but through my career.”

“Women bring different things to meetings than men do.  I’m not aware the men are any smarter or brighter than they are and if you’re looking to attract a family element and attract women to the game, you need to hear that from women on the board. Not from blokes who think they know best.”

Carmel McGregor, the deputy secretary  People Strategies and Policy in the Department of Defence, was elected as the first female board member of Super Rugby club ACT Brumbies this year.

She applauded the NRL for their stance, but said teams should avoid appointing females on boards as a ”token” gesture.

“Good on them, but having just one is not enough,” she said.

“If you’re excluding 51 per cent of the population from having a look in, you are inevitably denying the best talent.

“Boards should be more diverse. Gender’s one thing but people with a different way of thinking enhances board performance.

“Good on them for following the Brumbies lead.”

McGregor said a woman’s opinion would give clubs a greater understanding of how off-field incidents may affect their female fan base.

“It gives a different perspective and understanding of the implications some of that behaviour may have with women,” she said.

“One thing I’ve found heartening is the Brumbies board all listen, are very respectful and inclusive, and I wondered whether it would be like that.

“They’re normal blokes who have wives and daughters, and want their daughters to experience fair and equal society.”

New shopping mall company Scentre raises $2.9 billion in bond issue

Scentre Group, the spin-off from the Westfield empire, has made its first corporate foray with an issue of €2 billion ($2.9 billion) in bonds to help finance future development projects.
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The senior bond issue is across four tranches ranging from four to 12 years. Bankers suggest it may become one of the largest ever in Europe by a non-bank Australian corporate.

According to the advisors to the issue, Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas, assisted by HSBC and Barclays and the broader syndicate of another 13 banks, Scentre Management financed part of its A$5 billion bridge facilitythrough the new bond issue.

Under the terms of the issue, three of tranches will be in Euros and the 12 year tranche will be in pound sterling,

Scentre’s directors, led by new chief executive Peter Allen, held an investor roadshow in Europe last week, where it was said the reception was positive for the vehicle. Scentre has interests in 47 shopping malls in Australia and New Zealand.

One banker said European investors liked the fact that Scentre had kept the same management of the malls, despite there now being no one from the Lowy family in the day-to-day running of the business.

The books opened for the issue last night with settlement on July 16. The credit ratings assigned were A1/A from Moody’s Investors Services and Standard & Poor’s. Scentre also has Moody’s assigned long-term senior unsecured rating of A1 to its other €10 billion MTN program.

An analyst said the raising was the first test for how the international bond markets view the future strategy of the new entity.

Included in the split in Westfield to form Scentre was a $22 billion bridging loan, of which $5 billion was for Scentre. Some of the funds raised from the bond issue will be used to help repay that loan.

Other cash is expected to be raised over time, with the sale of interests in the shopping centres, which include Westfield Sydney and Fountain Gate in Melbourne.

Kate Stewart, managing director and head of debt capital markets at BNP Paribas in Sydney, noted all four tranches priced at the tight end of revised guidance: 67, 72 and 92 basis points over mid-swap for the euro notes and 113 basis points over Gilts for the sterling.

“Positive buy-side response clearly came through in the deal book. The book really is a ‘who’s who’ of real-money investors – it is extremely high quality and featured a number of large tickets, including bids of up to 500 million in each of the tranches.

Billy Connolly’s humorous guide to death

Death is a well-worn topic for TV makers, and is treated in a wide variety of ways: from tear-jerking poignancy in hospital beds and lovers’ arms, to spectacular technicolour sensation at the hands of assassins and explosions; from brutal, casual callousness in action scenes to morbid absurdity in black comedies. It is also hardly untrodden ground for documentary, but of course Billy Connolly’s Big Send Off (ABC1, 8.33pm) is not staking its claim for our attention based on the subject matter, but the host.
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Connolly, who won his stripes as one of the funniest humans before letting us know that he was a hell of a lot smarter than we might have guessed, brings relentless Glaswegian irreverence, cackling incredulity at the world’s ludicrousness and indelible accent to the task of examining humanity’s attitudes to our demise. As Connolly notes, it’s life’s only certainty and it brings out all kinds of fears, hopes, superstitions and bizarre rituals.

Having been through diagnoses of both cancer and Parkinson’s disease, Connolly, 71, may be feeling the uncomfortable glare of death prickling on the back of his neck, but any terror or anxiety he might be feeling is not in evidence here, as he romps through the world of death with typically jolly mien. Death is a $21 billion industry in the US, which sounds insane, but then Billy’s trip to a lavish pet cemetery shows clearly how extravagant we’re willing to get in the face of any mortality. He notes the cemetery says more about the living than the dead, and this is clearly shown throughout the doco to be true of all our peculiar responses to death, from Chinese money-burning, to voodoo spirit-summoning, to the drive-thru funeral parlour.

Connolly’s travels with death take in anecdotes and interviews with experts in death, including undertakers, dying people and his comedic friend – and writer of history’s greatest send-off song – Eric Idle. The program is fascinating, poignant, thought-provoking and hilarious, thanks in main to the man at its centre, who with a serious mind and light heart, tackles the universal human experience with insatiable curiosity and irresistible warmth.

Warmth is not exactly the motif of Red Riding Hood (GO, 9.30pm), which relies more on chilly atmospherics and pale virginity in a flick that takes the beloved fairytale and wrings sexual allegory from it until it screams for mercy. Amanda Seyfried is suitably pearly-skinned and wide-eyed as the girl who falls for an orphaned woodcutter in a village terrorised by a murderous werewolf. The filmmakers stayed faithful in one respect: Seyfried does, indeed, wear a bit of red.

Stockland tipped to accept Frasers offer

Expectations are rising that Stockland will accept the Frasers Centrepoint $2.6 billion offer for rival Australand, and use the cash raised from its 19.9 per cent stake to increase its greenfield developments.
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This comes as the 2014 financial year reporting season for real estate investment trusts is due to start in three weeks. Traditionally, Australand is the first REIT to report, followed closely by Stockland.

Broking analysts expect the reporting season to clarify the office market conditions, to the extent of rental incentives and vacancy outlooks.

This comes in the context of the many REITs that own older properties that could now be realistically sold for residential conversions.

In the past, these older properties with low rents and high incentives, have been a drag on the earnings outlooks.

The potential to sell for redevelopment will decrease the vacancy rate outlook for the sector and boost the quality of REIT portfolios.

Already, most of the REITs have announced their final distributions for the 2014 year, which came in at market expectations, reflecting the stable market conditions of the six months ending June 30.

The REIT sector has been one of the better performers as the trusts offer higher yields in a low interest rate environment.

According to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the average distribution per unit rate of 5.3 per cent is 175 basis points ahead of the 10-year bond yield of 3.54 per cent, which is broadly in line with the long-term average.

”The sector offers an implied total return of 6.9 per cent on our estimates,” analysts said.

But the high amount of corporate activity in the past year among REITs will also see a change in the structure of some REITs in the coming months, as the new owners look to rationalise portfolios and place some of the assets into new wholesale funds.

That is the expectation if Frasers is successful with its off-market, all-cash takeover offer for 100 per cent of Australand at $4.48 per security.

Analysts say they are expecting Frasers to put some of Australand’s industrial assets into a separate fund.

Morningstar analyst Tony Sherlock said he did not believe the competing bidder, Stockland, would raise its predominantly scrip-based offer of 1.124 Stockland securities for each Australand security, implying a notional value of $4.41 per Australand security.

”We consider the Frasers offer to be compelling, at a 21.7 per cent premium to Australand’s forecast net tangible assets,” he said.

Frasers’ offer closes on August 7.

Australia Post plans to redevelop its West Melbourne call centre

The planned 501-dwelling development would replace a call centre in Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne.Historic Duke of Kent pub unlikely to survive sale
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Australia Post has lodged plans for an ambitious mixed-use development with 501 dwellings to replace its Rosslyn Street call centre in West Melbourne.

The postal service announced in February its plans to move staff from the centre into 10,000 square metres of office space on levels 21 to 26 of 180 Lonsdale Street, which sits atop the QV shopping centre.

Instead of immediately selling the Rosslyn Street property, which is in a prime location, it has designed a village of five large buildings to cover the 9200-square-metre site bordered by Rosslyn, Adderley and Dudley streets.

The proposal includes five apartment towers between six and 19 storeys tall with 11 retail spaces and 396 car spaces.

They will replace a three-level brick building and car park.

Project architect Rothelowman senior associate Belinda Nincevic said the design included a public ”piazza” along Rosslyn Street with a pedestrian link to Dudley Street.

”Several buildings [were] designed to open up a previously closed-off inner-urban block, and provide a variety of public spaces in addition to retail and commercial tenancies,” Ms Nincevic said.

If approved, it will be one of the largest projects in the northern part of the city and is likely to prove controversial with local residents.

Last year supermarket giant Woolworths, despite bitter opposition from locals and the City of Melbourne, gained planning approval from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a supermarket and 300 apartments to be built in two high-rise towers in Canning Street, North Melbourne.

Woolworths put the site up for sale through CBRE’s Mark Wizel and Justin Dowers who confirmed that a transaction was imminent.

Fairfax Media previously reported it will change hands for more than $20 million.

A former lord mayor and chairman of North and West Melbourne Association, Kevin Chamberlin, said Australia Post should inform potential residents that the suburb lacked the infrastructure to support such large projects.

”This development will be a real test case because the community has fought hard to keep the high-rise south of Dudley Street, in the CBD. This will be the first major attempt to breach that long-standing practice and barrier,” he said.

An Australia Post spokeswoman confirmed the site would be sold after call centre staff moved to Lonsdale Street.

”We are looking to maximise the value of the Rosslyn Street site, with a view to offering it to the market in the near future,” she said.

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ORIGIN: Pressure on JT as Blues niggle away, poll

JOB DONE: Laurie Daley at Blues training in Brisbane yesterday. Picture: Getty ImagesTRASH-TALKING NSW prop James Tamou has apologised to Johnathan Thurston, but the Blues are likely to be less accommodating to the out-of-form Queensland pivot tonight.
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NSW appeared to up the ante on their series-long niggling of Thurston before State of Origin III when his North Queensland Cowboys teammate Tamou rated Blues No.1 Jarryd Hayne ‘‘better’’ than the Maroons five-eighth.

Tamou’s betrayal loomed as another blow to Thurston as he tried to regain his mojo on the eve of his record 30th straight Origin game.

But Queensland captain Cameron Smith said Tamou had already apologised for his comment and expected Thurston to fire in a match the Maroons must win to avoid their first whitewash in 14 years.

‘‘I don’t think JT needs any motivation from comments made in the paper, given that James actually texted him this morning and apologised for the comments that he had made,’’ Smith said. ‘‘So that was a bit of a funny one.

‘‘But he’s a guy who has never lived off comments from other players or the media to try and make him play better.

‘‘He is a competitor. He will want to beat you on Playstation, let alone on a footy field. I am sure you will see the best of him on Wednesday night.’’

But Smith admitted he did not know what to expect from a Blues outfit that had harassed Thurston all series.

The two-time Dally M Medal winner has been a shadow of himself after being targeted in both games, and tensions threatened to boil over in Origin II in Sydney.

Thurston appeared to finally crack, slapping Beau Scott across the face and almost coming to blows with Blues pivot Josh Reynolds.

The spiteful match has fanned fears game three may repeat the ugly scenes of 2009’s dead rubber, which was marred by Maroons prop Steve Price being punched unconscious by Brett White then manhandled by Justin Poore.

‘‘I am not too sure what to expect,’’ Smith said. ‘‘At the end of the day, there are two referees to officiate the game. If there’s niggle, then stop it.’’

Queensland coach Mal Meninga was more focused on saluting Thurston’s 30-game milestone after dismissing fears over the pivot’s corked thigh suffered on Sunday.

‘‘That’s external pressure from you guys, to be honest,’’ he said of Thurston being targeted. ‘‘We have no problems with John and he will go out and show that tomorrow night.

‘‘To play 30 straight in this arena, it doesn’t get much better than that.’’

Still, Meninga could not avoid a subtle crack at NSW when asked if he would like to see Thurston receive more room to move in game three.

‘‘You better ask NSW,’’ he smiled.

Smith was uncertain about what to expect from NSW but knew what Queensland had to do after having their eight-year dynasty snapped.

‘‘We have to come out here and win, otherwise it is a 3-0 deficit, which is the last thing you want to experience,’’ he said. ‘‘The series has been won by NSW and we accept that, but we have to get on with things, look forward to 2015.’’

NSW skipper Paul Gallen has been public enemy No.1 in Queensland for as long as he can remember.

But about 10.15 tonight Gallen will have the last laugh when he raises the State of Origin shield, the first Blues captain to do so since Andrew Johns nine years ago, a moment he says will be the highlight of his career.

The Blues will toast their series victory in what’s expected to be a deserted Suncorp Stadium, with Queensland supporters set to exit en masse after the final siren.

About 5000 tickets are unsold, but a similar number of Blues fans are tipped to travel up the Pacific Highway.

Gallen said, regardless of the size of the audience, lifting the shield for the first time would be a moment to savour.

‘‘It’ll be nice. I played up here a few weeks ago against the Broncos and they certainly let me have it,’’ Gallen said.

‘‘Hopefully, they won’t be too loud when we go up so I can congratulate Queensland for what they have done over the last eight years and thank our boys.

‘‘It’s something I am looking forward to and it will certainly be a career highlight.’’

Gallen said he would not hold any hard feelings towards the home crowd if they chose to snub the presentation as he dedicated the series win to the 87 players and four coaches who had pitted their wits against the Maroons since 2006.

‘‘That’s understandable. It’s up to them what they do. I am not too worried about it … I can’t wait to hold it up. I don’t care if there’s 55,000 here or five,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s going to be a great moment, not just for myself and this team, but for every player and coach that’s played a part over the last eight years.

‘‘We’ve played against this Queensland side who’ve been blessed with all these great players … and to finally beat them is a great moment in history. I can’t wait to hold that trophy up.’’

Gallen makes his 18th Blues appearance tonight and has put behind him for now the pressures of skippering a Cronulla club caught in the crosshairs of the ASADA investigation.

‘‘Gal is a fantastic captain. I couldn’t ask for anyone better,’’ Daley said. ‘‘He has been a great servant to NSW over the years and throughout this series. No one deserves to win this series more than him.’’

Senate stall on advice rules

Up in the air: The Coalition is playing for time on the financial advice regulations. Photo: Quentin JonesThe Abbott government has held off tabling its watered-down financial advice rules in the Senate as it seeks to use the coming days to lobby new Palmer United Party senators for support for the proposals.
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Labor senators took the unusual step on Tuesday to try to table the Abbott government’s future of financial advice (FoFA) regulations, saying the Senate needed them to be introduced so the entire chamber could consider whether or not to disallow them.

But the Coalition refused, leaving Labor to accuse the government of wanting to give lobbyists more time to ”work on” Clive Palmer and PUP senators.

The Coalition’s amended financial advice laws have fallen into disarray this week after Mr Palmer said he ”would never” support them.

The government needs the support of Mr Palmer to get its amendments through the Senate.

It has until next Tuesday to table its regulation changes.

But on Tuesday, Labor senator Sam Dastyari tried to get the Coalition to table its own FoFA regulations but it refused.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has repeatedly declined to say when the government will table the regulations, even though they took effect on July 1.

Senator Cormann this week said that if his regulations were thrown out then he would consider extending some requirements, such as making advisers disclose fees charged in previous years, to financial advice provided through industry super funds.

David Whiteley, chief executive of Industry Super Australia, said there was ”genuine bewilderment” in the industry on that threat on Tuesday, because intra-fund advice was offered to members of every, not just industry, funds.

Senator Cormann also ruled out any prospect of an immediate royal commission into Commonwealth Bank or the financial planning industry, saying he wanted to see how the CBA compensation scheme for fraud victims would work.

His comments follow an explosive Senate report examining the performance of CBA and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which recommended a royal commission into the CBA over allegations of widespread fraud and misconduct in its financial planning division. CBA apologised to customers last week for misselling financial advice.

Senator Cormann said on Tuesday that the government would ”reserve judgment” on the need for a royal commission.

”We believe that the announcement by CBA of the open advice review program does offer that opportunity, but we reserve judgment, we will monitor the way that is being implemented.”

The post-desk ‘hot environment’ is coming

The “hot environment” uses more spaces where employees can encounter each other.Your next workplace may look more like your lounge room than an office.
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Architects of a new generation of modern buildings are offering workers ”living spaces” and ”lounge” facilities to make them feel at home, often replacing the traditional desk and chair.

The trend towards activity-based work or ”hot desking” – now firmly entrenched in Australia’s corporate sector – will gradually evolve into ”informal” work spaces, says David Gianotten a director of OMA Hong Kong, the architects behind the iconic Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the new CCTV headquarters in Beijing.

Modern workplaces have been transformed over the past decade by activity-based working, where employees share desks and collaborative spaces, allowing businesses to save space and cut costs.

But new office designs were shifting towards pseudo ”living rooms” and more informal interiors, Mr Gianotten said.

”Instead of hot-desking it becomes simply a ‘hot’ environment, or ‘living room’ environment is a term that a lot of people now use, where you can choose your own way of working and are not locked to a desk any more.”

”You see more and more very informal spaces that are full of couches and soft furniture where people work a full day because they are used to lounging and lying around when they work with their computers,” Mr Gianotten said.

Not surprisingly, technology companies were at the forefront of the trend, but conservative businesses such as management consultants McKinsey & Company were also adapting, he said.

Architects were being challenged to design for contradictory needs.

People want choice, flexibility and the ability to influence their work space, while at the same time there was a push to ”more collaborative spaces, informal meeting spaces, more space for people just to encounter each other”, Mr Gianotten said.

”If you look at where it is heading currently, it is heading towards spaces without a desk. There are now in many office designs areas where you can be on a treadmill while you do your phone calls, or sit on a high stool with a moveable table in front of you.”

Australian businesses were quick to adopt activity-based working and are likely to move as fast towards informal spaces.

”We’re one of the leading markets in the world for that type of space in the workplace,” Hassell Studio principal Steve Coster said, citing recent home-like interior designs for advertising agencies George Patterson Y&R and Clemenger BBDO.

How far businesses took the idea depended on their circumstances, but it was driven by a recognition that employees spent a lot of time in the office and comfortable informal spaces helped them perform at their best, Mr Coster said. ”The more you can do your work from anywhere, the more important it is when you get together that you have high-value time,” he said.

The shift did not necessarily require businesses to use more floor space. Instead desk-related areas were more concentrated while the ”unorchestrated” part of the office became larger, Mr Gianotten said.

Design firms were employing behavioural specialists to better understand how to create interiors that encouraged creative interaction among employees, he said.

David Gianotten will speak at the Design Speaks: Work Place/Work Life Forum on July 14.

Crazy John’s brand to end in September

Crazy John’s was once a quirky mobile phone brand borne of a working class man whose branches dotted suburban Australia. But in September it will cease to exist – almost seven years after the tragic death of its founder, John Ilhan.
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Vodafone Hutchison Australia will on Wednesday announce that Crazy John’s will be shut down and its 100,000 customers will be offered a move into the parent brand.

”It is a sad day and it’s certainly the end of an era in name but his pioneering spirit is alive here,” Vodafone Australia director of sales Ben McIntosh said. ”We look forward to welcoming those Crazy John’s customers who are coming over to Vodafone, and we say goodbye to those who are leaving and thank them for their loyalty and support over the years.”

Mr Ilhan, 42, collapsed and died while walking near his Melbourne home in October 2007. His death triggered an outpouring of grief from politicians and celebrities to then-prime minister John Howard.

Vodafone Australia bought 75 per cent of Crazy John’s from his widow, Patricia Ilhan, in 2008 for around $150 million.

The young entrepreneur who was the son of Turkish migrants loved the limelight and rode the mobile phone boom by turning his low-cost retail store into a national success story with 120 outlets and $200 million per year in revenues.

He sponsored football clubs, homeless youth shelters and food allergy fighters after discovering his daughter Jaida was unable to eat peanuts. He also tapped into antipathy about the national carrier, describing Telstra as a ”bully” that was no longer competitive as part of his sales pitch.

But his greatest commercial legacy was Crazy John’s – a name he claimed came to life because customers kept saying his marketing ideas were crazy.

The company was the first to offer $1 mobile phones that allowed customers to pay less up-front and more over the life of a contract. The practice is now common.

Vodafone Australia operated Crazy John’s as a separate entity until January, 2013, when it decided to merge it with the parent company and close down 40 of the 60 outlets that had survived – a move that saddened Ms Ilhan.

Vodafone Australia’s Mr McIntosh said that with customers down to around 100,000 users it no longer made sense to have both running.

He was keen to state that no staff would lose their jobs.

Crazy John’s was then run as an online-only operation with its own customers and prices that went as low as $5 per month – plans that shall no longer be offered.

HOME AGAIN: Alex McKinnon to makeemotional return to Hunter Stadium

IT shapes as the most emotional moment in the history of the Knights.
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Four months after the devastating tackle that broke his neck and ended his rugby league career, Alex McKinnon will return to Hunter Stadium for the first time when the Knights host Gold Coast on Sunday week.

McKinnon’s appearance was confirmed yesterday in a media release to promote ‘‘RiseForAlex’’ round, the NRL’s fund-raising weekend to provide support for the 22-year-old Aberdeen product. “Being at the game in round 19 is going to be a great occasion,” McKinnon said in a video statement.

“Newcastle has looked after me and the whole community has looked after me over the last few months. I am really looking forward to going to the game.

“With the community of the NRL, my family, Teigan, all my mates and everyone from Newcastle, it hasn’t been easy, but they have made it a lot easier and I would just like to say thank you.”

It is unclear whether McKinnon will appear on the pitch before the game, allowing Knights fans to pay their respects, or if he would prefer to just take his seat in the coach’s box, as he did when Newcastle played the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on April 26.

Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said any suchdecision would be left entirely to McKinnon, but he admitted it would be a moving experience for everyone if the former Country Origin forward did accept an invitation to acknowledge the crowd.

‘‘We don’t want to put too much on Alex,’’ Gidley said yesterday.

‘‘We’re not going to ask him to do anything he doesn’t feel comfortable about.

‘‘I’m sure everyone would love to see him, but we just have to see how he’s feeling and be guided by Alex … to see him in round 19, physically at the game, I’d imagine it would be pretty powerful.’’

The NRL has arranged a host of fund-raising initiatives to coincide with ‘‘RiseForAlex’’ round, which should provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for his ongoing care and support.

Some of the key measures announced include:

● The NRL will donate $1 to the RiseForAlex Fund for every spectator who attends any match during round 19.

● Fans can buy RiseForAlex wristbands at all matches across rounds 19 and 20.

● Fans can also make donations at www.riseforalex杭州后花园.au or by texting RiseForAlex to 0498 555 555.

● Channel Nine’s Footy Show will host a telethon, with help from with 150 Telstra volunteers and players from several clubs, during their broadcast on Thursday week.

‘‘We’d just encourage everyone to get along and show their support for Alex,’’ Gidley said. ‘‘As Newcastle always does, we rally together through tough times, and it’s been difficult for Alex.

‘‘I’m certainly hopeful we’ll get some great support for Alex on Sunday week when we play the Titans.’’

UNITED: Maroons captain Cameron Smith and Blues skipper Paul Gallen at yesterday’s official launch of the RiseForAlex campaign in Brisbane.

State of Origin captains Paul Gallen and Cameron Smith joined forces yesterday to promote ‘‘RiseForAlex’’ round.

“We have put our rivalries aside for a short time today to come together for a cause that is at the heart of every player in the game,” NSW skipper Gallen said.

Queensland captain Smith said McKinnon had shown ‘‘incredible courage and positivity’’ and urged fans to ‘‘applaud Alex’s strength by digging deep and supporting the ‘RiseFor Alex’ round.’’

NRL chief executive Dave Smith said McKinnon’s ‘‘positive attitude and contagious smile’’ had made him ‘‘a true role model for everyone in the game’’.

“The rugby league community support one another in times of need and we are calling on fans to come together for Alex McKinnon,” he said.

The ‘‘RiseForAlex Fund’’, which is independently managed by a board of directors, is aiming to provide McKinnon with accessible housing, a vehicle, a wheelchair, physiotherapy and rehabilitation as well as ongoing medical assistance.