20 August, 2020
Support flows for rugby league coach
ONE OF rugby league’s most prominent and respected figures across Central Queensland, Longreach-born Tony Wilkinson, fought hard battles on the footy field.
he now faces a greater challenge after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
Following the announcement, words of encouragement and financial support spread across the state.
Central Queensland Capras CEO, Peter White, announced the creation of a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Mr Wilkinson’s treatment expenses via Facebook.
“Tony is one of our own and he’s got a bit of a battle on his hands at the moment for the next six to 12 months,” Mr White said. “I’m sure he’ll come through it, but he’s going to need our support.
“He’s one of those guys who has given a lot to the game and has impacted positively on so many lives. It’s the least we could do as a club to give him a bit of a hand up.”
Within 24 hours of its creation, the fundraiser received more than $8700 from nearly 70 donors across the state, which came as no surprise to Mr White.
“The support has been fantastic,” he said. “He’s received wonderful support and we didn’t expect anything less.
“When our mates are in trouble, we help them out. That’s just the way Queenslanders are.
“Tony is in good spirits and is up for the fight. When we began the fundraiser he was quite embarrassed because he is a very humble guy.”
Mr Wilkinson has achieved a great deal throughout his rugby career, including playing for his hometown team, the Longreach Thomson Tigers, coaching the Central Queensland Capras’ Mal Meninga Under 18s team from 2018-2019, and currently coaches the Clermont Bears.
Central West Rugby League president, David Kerrigan, extended his best wishes to a man who has “given so much to rugby league.”
“The support has been overwhelming,” Mr Kerrigan said. “It just goes to show what people think of him. It’s the least anyone can do. He’s a great mate, a terrific coach, and is very kind and fun to be with. We couldn’t wish for a better ambassador.
“It’s terrible what has happened as it’s affected a lot of people in different communities, but he’s in good spirits. We wish Tony all the best and we will do all we can to support him during this difficult time.”
More than $16,000 has been raised towards Tony Wilkinson’s cause. Donations can be made by visiting www.gofundme.com/cjhquz-wilko.