Boyd Cordner auctions off signey Origin Jersey, via David Riccio.
Boyd Cordner auctions off signey Origin Jersey, via David Riccio.

Blues skipper’s beautiful gesture for mum who lost kids in fire

BOYD  Cordner knows nothing can ever replace the loss felt by the Singleton family that lost three children in a house fire. But the NSW captain believes rugby league must do something to help - and here's how you can get involved.

"It's never easy for anyone to lose a loved one, but this was just shocking,'' an emotional Cordner said.

"I spoke to Freddy (NSW coach Brad Fittler) and he had seen what I saw on the news, and we both agreed we had to try and do something.''

 

Boyd Cordner knew the Blues had to show their support. Image: Brett Costello
Boyd Cordner knew the Blues had to show their support. Image: Brett Costello

 

Two weeks ago, Cordner stood staring at the TV, heartbroken by the incomprehensible loss of six-year-old twin girls Matylda and Scarlett Rinkin and their 12-year-old brother Blake, from a house fire in Singleton.

Their mother Kara Atkins 31, and sister Bayley, 8, survived the blaze.

The tragedy has crushed a family with untold grief and rocked the tight-knit Hunter Valley community.

On Wednesday night, Cordner will lead NSW on a mission to beat Queensland and re-claim the Origin shield in front of an almost sold-out crowd at ANZ Stadium.

Yet behind the scenes, the 27-year-old has been working on something of far greater meaning than a game of football.

 

Twins Matylda and Scarlett and their brother and Blake died in the fire.
Twins Matylda and Scarlett and their brother and Blake died in the fire.

 

Cordner has decided to put the Blues jersey he wears up for auction along with his 16 NSW teammates jersey's in the hope of raising as much money as possible for the grief-stricken family.

Each of the Blues players jersey's will be individually signed.

There's the potential for more than six figures to be raised.

Cordner said it was important that the game of rugby league rallied given Singleton is a proud rugby league town and young Blake played rugby league for the Singleton Greyhounds and was a keen Manly Sea Eagles fan.

 

Kaidem Larcombe, Caleb Baxter, Caleb Tull, Jayden Brumby and Jack Gilmore of the Singletown Greyhounds. Image: Peter Lorimer.
Kaidem Larcombe, Caleb Baxter, Caleb Tull, Jayden Brumby and Jack Gilmore of the Singletown Greyhounds. Image: Peter Lorimer.

 

"I know it's not going to do anything to replace their loss, but hopefully it helps them out a little bit,'' Cordner said.

"It's sickening, it's hard to imagine how much pain and suffering they would be in.

"I don't have kids myself, but when I spoke to Jimmy Maloney, who has four kids, and a few of the other players with newborns, to see their reaction when we spoke about the tragedy … terrible, just terrible.

"And all the messaging I have received is that they (family) lived and breathed rugby league, so I felt it was important we did something.

"We (NSW team) all felt that.''

 

Tributes left outside the family’s home.
Tributes left outside the family’s home.

 

The coach of Blake's Singleton Greyhounds team, Paul Larcombe, said the Atkins family was aware of the initiative and wanted to convey its appreciation to the Blues and the greater rugby league "family".

"It's much appreciated (by the family) … It's an awesome gesture," Mr Larcombe said.

"The rugby league community, we're like a big family and it's been awesome to see the rugby league community get behind such a tragedy."

And he said Cordner's efforts mirrored those made in the Upper Hunter to support those affected by the blaze.

"As the captain of NSW it's great, it comes back to the rugby league community and even the little things being done by the clubs up here. Not just the donations but the support," Mr Larcombe said.

"Our focus has been on the kids involved and the parents of the kids affected."

 

 

Blues coach Brad Fittler wants his team to give something back. Image: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Blues coach Brad Fittler wants his team to give something back. Image: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

 

To kickstart the financial support and to drive the public towards a special Go Fund Me page for the family, the Blues' major sponsor, Brydens Lawyers has generously donated $10,000.

In the first 13 days after the tragedy the page raised a staggering $245,000.

"I'm a father of three and as parents you could not even comprehend the tragedy of losing a child, let alone three in those circumstances,'' Brydens CEO Lee Hagipantelis said.

"Some of us are more fortunate than others and whether it's $10,000 or $5, if that's what you can afford, it has the same significance.

"This is full credit to Brad and Boyd.''

 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE GO FUND ME PAGE.

 

Cordner understands the importance of community in a country town. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Cordner understands the importance of community in a country town. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

 

Cordner, who grew up in Old Bar on the mid north-coast and who lost his mother Lanai to breast cancer in 1997, understands the impact tragedy can have on communities like Singleton.

"It's a whole network of family and friends that are effected,'' Cordner said.

"In a little country town, I know first-hand, that's all you've got sometimes, is each other.

"Recently one of my best mate's, his girlfriend passed away in a car crash at the start of last year and she was only 18.

"What it did to the community of Old Bar was incredible. It rocked everyone - not only did the family feel it, but the whole community too.

"And it would be no different in Singleton.''

NSW coach Brad Fittler said Cordner's desire to help a family overcome by suffering reflected his views on the impacts the Blues can have on the people of NSW.

"We try to do something community based every game, and we read the story and just thought, this would be the best way to help a family, a real footy family, in a terrible time of need,'' Fittler said. "In this team, it's about being grateful.

"The boys are under pressure, they're playing in front of 80,000 people, but we're still playing a game. It's about having that balance of reality.''

*For information on how you can bid for a signed Blues jersey or donate to the cause, will be released on the NSWRL website.