Former player Craig ‘Knuckles’ Greenhill has thanked the Hull FC community for their support of his former teammate during their visit to the UK.
Maher, who was sadly diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease last year, is currently back in Hull along with members of his family and close friends, with a fundraiser dinner on Sunday raising over £15,000 to support the Maher family during this difficult period.
Greenhill, who played alongside Maher during his time with the Black & Whites, was instrumental in helping the contingent make the trip over from the Southern Hemisphere, and has been blown away by the support of the people of Hull.
Speaking to hullfc.com, Greenhill said: “When Adam said he wanted to come back to the city, I definitely wanted to be back in Hull with him. We both had a great time here over 15 years ago - all the memories came flooding back as soon as we arrived.
“The rugby league community in this city is a very special one, and they always come together when somebody is in need. It was very touching for Adam and his family to have so many people in the room at yesterday’s dinner
“Over 300 people singing Old Faithful at the end of the event was particularly moving - it really made the hairs of the back of the neck stand up.
“The people there gave so generously and that will go some way to helping Adam and his family at this difficult time. It’s unfortunate that as this disease progresses, he is going to need certain things to assist him and the money raised will go towards that.”
The dinner, held at Lazaat Hotel, was organised by former player Paul Cooke, supporters Karl Brooks and Jed Rust, FC Voices chairwoman Lisa Jewitt and Craig O’Donnell of the Ex-Players Association, as well as being sponsored by the L6ve Life Foundation - set up by former player Lee Newton, who also suffered from Motor Neurone Disease, to fight to find a cure for the illness. Lee sadly lost his battle with MND in March 2017.
An auction, which included signed and framed Hull FC, NRL and State of Origin jerseys, raised over £7500, while rare items including a 2006 Challenge Cup winners medal, and Paul Cooke’s 2005 Challenge Cup semi-final jersey went under the hammer!
Raffle donations also raised thousands, while the L6ve Life Foundation also donated a cheque of £2000 in support of the Australian.
Greenhill and Maher will also visit the Elite Performance Centre this week to watch the squad train, while also being invited to attend Thursday’s home fixture against Castleford.
The group were also in attendance at Friday’s Super League opener against Hull Kingston Rovers.
“Being at the game on Friday night amongst all the Hull FC fans was really special. The Black & White fans are a level above anyone else - even after full-time after such an agonizing way to end the game, they were loud and proud.
“I also think Friday is the coldest I have been for a very long time!”
Maher joined the Black & Whites in 2000 from Gateshead, and went on to make 100 appearances for the club during the transition from The Boulevard to the KCOM Stadium between the turn of the millennium and 2003. The back-rower, who touched down 25 times for the club, also played for Rochdale and Cronulla Sharks during his career.
Former Australian international and Queendland representative Greenhill meanwhile joined the club in 2002 from Penrith, making 55 appearances alongside teammate Maher.
Greenhill continued: “Two of Adam’s daughters were born here so it’s really special for the family to be back - they’re both ‘Codheads’! He had a great career here and really loved his time here. You saw the likes of Andy Last, Matty Crowther, Richard Horne and Paul Cooke all chatting to him yesterday and you wouldn’t believe it was 15 years ago since we all played together.
“It will be really special to return to the KCOM Stadium on Thursday and give the Hull FC fans a chance to show their support for Adam.”
Supporters will be given a special opportunity before Thursday’s match to show their support for Adam, so make sure you are in your seats at least 10 minutes before kick-off!