AHEAD of Friday night’s State of Origin Bushfire Relief double-header, the club is pleased to announce that $36,088* has been raised by the players’ GoFundMe campaign for the Red Cross’s Bushfire Relief Fund.

The campaign, which was driven by Christian Petracca and the wider playing group following January’s devastating bushfires, saw great support from fans of the red and blue.

On top of this donation, Melbourne major partner Zurich – through their charitable arm, the Z Zurich Foundation – will match 50c of every dollar raised (equalling $18,044), taking the total donation to $54,132.

Through a partnership with the AFL Players Association, the Z Zurich Foundation has also committed to donating $10 to the AFL Community Relief Fund for every ticket sold for the State of Origin Bushfire Relief double-header.

CEO of Zurich Life and Investments, Justin Delaney, said the group was proud to get behind the double-header.

“We’re delighted to stand alongside the AFL, the AFL Players Association and broader football family to get around the re-build efforts of our bushfire-affected communities via the AFL Community Relief Fund,” Delaney said.

“We’ve seen first-hand the role that footy clubs play in strengthening bonds within local communities, and in improving the wellbeing of club participants – the need for which will be even greater this football season.  

“Our contribution - made possible by our charitable foundation - is made on behalf of our customers and employees, many of whom have been directly impacted by the fires.”

This supports the $2.5m already donated by the AFL, its 18 Clubs and AFL / AFLW players through the AFL Players’ Association, to support communities impacted by the bushfires across Australia.

A donation of $1 million went towards immediate relief efforts on the ground through the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund.

A further $1.5 million has been contributed into the Community Relief Fund, as identified above, that directly supports the local football clubs and families in these impacted communities nationally.

* Due to fees deducted by GoFundMe, the total raised by the player campaign that will go towards the Red Cross is $35,184.87.