Dragon Jack Stockwell to swap jersey in tribute to Alex

Jack Stockwell will pay special tribute to close mate Alex McKinnon on Monday.
Jack Stockwell will pay special tribute to close mate Alex McKinnon on Monday.

Dragons forward Jack Stockwell will make his own special tribute to close friend Alex McKinnon by swapping jerseys with teammate Will Matthews for Monday's clash with Manly.

After Johnathan Thurston's decision to wear jersey 16 (the number that McKinnon wore when he suffered the spinal injury that confined him to a wheelchair), Matthews will change jumpers to mark the Rise for Alex round. And Stockwell admits it will be an emotional occasion.

"I have known Alex since our high school days and wanted to do something to help honour him during the game on Monday," he said.

"During the week, I discussed wearing the No 16 jersey with our football manager, who was more than supportive to help make this happen with the assistance of the NRL.

"I have been permitted to swap over my existing shirt number with Will Matthews, who had been named as No 16, and he understands and respects my reasons.

"Several other leading players in the NRL competition have done likewise this round, which shows the standing that Alex has in the rugby league community with them wanting to honour him in a similar way."

Stockwell said he hoped to catch up with McKinnon after the round to raise money for his recovery.

"I am hoping to see him at some stage next week because he has had a fair few things on throughout the week in the build-up to this round," he said.

"Everyone is stoked that he is back in Newcastle, which means being closer to family and friends and most importantly, being surrounded by things that make him who he is."