Raiders player Joel Thomson is is auctioning off sports memorabilia. Photo: Melissa Adams
Next month, Joel Thompson will pull on his cherished Indigenous All Stars jersey and run out at Suncorp Stadium feeling on top of the world.
And the Canberra star plans to use his privileged position to help a mate down on his luck.
The second-rower's friend Ryan Dollisson recently had his right foot amputated and received more than 100 stitches to his right leg, after a workplace accident in Albury.
Dollisson faces mounting hospital bills and months of recovery after an excavator reversed over him, and Thompson has rallied the sports community to help him and his family. The 24-year-old has set up an eBay account auctioning off sports memorabilia, including Raiders skipper Terry Campese's NSW and Australia jerseys, a Ricky Ponting Twenty20 outfit and an Everton shirt worn by Socceroo Tim Cahill.
Dollisson was one of Thompson's best men when he married his sweetheart Amy over the off-season, and the accident has hit him hard.
He is hopeful other Raiders players in the Indigenous All Stars side - Reece Robinson, Jack Wighton, Jake Foster and Blake Ferguson - will help.
''I'm going to get a pair of Indigenous boots signed by the team, and my jumper, and hopefully some of the other Raiders boys that got picked will do that, too,'' Thompson said. ''When a tragedy like this happens, it's great to have so much support out there.
''He [Dollisson] would always be one of the first to help anyone if they were in trouble. He's got a big heart and that's why there's so many people out there willing to help him.
''We're also going to auction off six Raiders players to come around to a fan's house and shout them pizzas and drinks. He's had over seven operations but he's strong and is focused on getting himself right.
''My goal is to raise at least $10,000-$15,000, which gives him a head-start on things. His parents are out of pocket and it does give him one less thing to worry about.''
Thompson said added responsibility off the field had taught him there's more to life than looking after No.1.
He said Amy and his 11-year-old stepdaughter Bella had given him new perspective on life, and helped him curb his party lifestyle.
''I've got myself a wife now and a stepdaughter, it's all part of growing up,'' Thompson said. ''I still have my slip-ups, but I see myself as a leader here with a lot of the young boys.
''I have to think about family now, it's not just me, and it's good to have two people to answer to sometimes. It used to be about myself and I used to run wild a bit back then.''
Thompson has learnt plenty from an unsavoury off-season incident, when a cyclist was allegedly hit by a bottle thrown from his apartment after the night of the Foreshore music festival in November.
The matter is being investigated by police and, while the club cleared him of any wrongdoing, Thompson said he learnt a valuable lesson.
''Sam Patterson [Raiders leadership coach] told me a few things, things I could have changed,'' Thompson said. ''People came up uninvited, we didn't know who they were. They carried on a bit and threw stuff, and when my missus saw it she got me up [when Thompson was sleeping] and told me they were leaving.
''I do hope the police find out who the culprits were, but it's a situation I could have controlled better, even though I wasn't in the wrong.''
DONATIONS AND BIDS
You can make donations to the Dollisson family fund at: account name - Paul Dollisson, Great Building Society; BSB - 637000; account number - 780801336 (type in 'Ryan' and your name). Bids for sports memorabilia up for auction can be made at stores.ebay.com.au/Hope-Assists-The-Brave.