More than 300 people attended a sold out luncheon in Wollongong to honour and raise funds for rugby league legend Brett Kenny.
In a prelude to the Super League match between Wigan Warriors and Hull FC on Saturday, Parramatta Eels greats Kenny and Peter Sterling headlined the fundraising lunch, ‘A Day for Bert’, at City Beach Function Centre on Friday.
The duo, who are honoured on the winner’s shield to be presented at the end of Saturday’s Wigan/Hull FC match, took centre stage to discuss their roles in the 1985 Challenge Cup final, deemed one of the greatest games in English rugby league history.
Kenny played for the victorious Wigan Warriors and Sterling took the field for Hull.
Kenny said that it was an honour to have the trophy named after the pair.
The lunch was a fundraiser for Kenny and his family.
Kenny and his family had a tough 2017 with Brett battling cancer and his stepson, Riley, becoming a quadriplegic in an accident.
Kenny said he was “humbled” by the luncheon taking place, and surprised when contacted by Wigan Warriors executive director Kris Radlinski, informing him than an event would be hosted in his honour.
“I’m doing okay,” Kenny said of his battle with lymphoma cancer.
“The tumour hasn’t gone, it’s always going to be there, but at the moment things have gone really well, it’s shrunk down to about 31mm, and it was 92mm when it first started.
“So all going well, I’ve finished the chemo and no longer on medication.”
Sterling said he was pleased to be involved in the day, alongside a great friend and former team-mate.
Sterling said the pair had some awareness of the high regard that Challenge Cup final was held in by English fans.
“I’d rather it was a terrible game and we won,” he joked.
“It is pleasing that after all of these years it is recognised as one of the better deciders over there.”
Sterling, who often watches the Super League competition, said he was looking for the WIN Stadium game to be “a really good spectacle”.
Mr Radlinski said that while Kenny and Sterling may not fully appreciate the fondness with which they are remembered by fans of their respective English teams, they have earned their places in the annals of Super League history.
“Wigan and Hull have enjoyed many amazing games over the years but 1985 is considered the best of them all, thanks in no small way to two Australians with an abiding love of the game,” he said.
“Bringing this game to Wollongong was always going to be special but adding in the Kenny-Sterling Shield adds another layer of intensity, and we’re proud to share this event with not only Brett and Peter but with all of the game’s fans and the Wollongong community.”
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