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The annual Beanie For Brain Cancer Round will kick-off on Thursday night, with National Rugby League (NRL) clubs, players and fans uniting to raise money for brain cancer research.

The Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) hopes to raise $3 million during this year’s Beanie for Brain Cancer Round, which will see 272 players, 16 Clubs, thousands of fans and broadcasters Channel Nine and Fox Sports unite.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the Beanie For Brain Cancer Round is an important moment in the season.

“NRL Beanie for Brain Cancer Round is one of our most important rounds – a time when the game gets together for a vital cause,’’ Mr Abdo said. “Every year our supporters, players and clubs respond with powerful generosity.

“We see all the players wearing their beanies in front of packed stadiums, that also feature so many beanies and makes you proud to be involved in rugby league.

“This round is not just about the on-field outcomes  – it’s an incredible show of support from all those involved in the game to raise funds for brain cancer research, a disease that kills more children under 10 and adults under 40 than any other disease.”

The NRL’s wagering partner Sportsbet will donate $1000 for every try scored in Beanie for Brain Cancer Round, on top of a $50,000 donation from the purchase of Clive Churchill’s first ever Kangaroos jersey that will sit in the NRL’s Heroes & Legends Museum.

Barni Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Sportsbet, added: “Sportsbet are delighted to continue to support the Mark Hughes Foundation. Since its inception in 2017, we have donated $230,000 to the cause, and we’re only just getting started. Not only that, we are thrilled to be able to assist in another way in 2021, by keeping Clive Churchill’s famous 1948 Kangaroos jersey in the rugby league family.

“Clive Churchill’s name is synonymous with rugby league, he is an Immortal, so for Sportsbet to play a small part in keeping this piece of history within the rugby league community, and make an extra donation to the Mark Hughes Foundation is something we’re extremely proud to do.”

The 2021 Beanie For Brain Cancer Round was launched to coincide with the start of ‘The Big Three’ trek - 30 trekkers walking from NRL Headquarters in Sydney to McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle across three days raising funds and awareness for MHF.

Reality stars, journalists and sports personalities across all codes united on the first leg today from NRL HQ to the Sydney Opera House.

“Every single person in the rugby league community has the power to make a difference this week and together we can do anything, even beat this terrible disease,” MHF Founder Mark Hughes said.

“I’m really proud to announce that we are growing the research team that will bring hope to people with brain cancer and their families. We are moving quickly to make sure every dollar gets to where it’s needed.

“It is because of our incredible supporters that this next step is possible and we want to say thank you to everyone that has bought a beanie so far. The success of Beanie for Brain Cancer Round has truly made a difference but the battle has only just begun. We now have better research in place to take on this gruesome opponent - but the final result still weighs on every beanie we sell.”

Round 15 will this year feature matches in seven different locations; Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Newcastle, Wollongong, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

In Australia, Brain Cancer kills more children than any other disease and more people under 40 than any other cancer. Supporters are being urged to help raise much needed funds by buying a beanie or donating to the Mark Hughes Foundation. More information is available at

Beanies will be available from Lowes Australia stores, selected IGA stores and online from the MHF website

Brain Cancer statistics

  • Survival rates have increased by 1% over the last 30 years
  • Kills more children than any other disease
  • Only 2/10 people diagnosed will live more than 5 years
  • Kills more people under 40 than any other cancer
  • Receives less than 5% of federal funding for cancer research
  • One person every 5 hours is diagnosed in Australia
Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.