Mose Masoe will make an emotional farewell to fans of Hull Kingston Rovers tomorrow when he walks out onto the pitch carrying a ball which has travelled around the world collecting player signatures to raise money in aid of his charity Foundation.
Given it remains uncertain as to whether the Robins will make the Super League play-offs and enjoy another home fixture before the end of the season, it is possible tomorrow will be the final time the Robins’ ‘red and white army’ can show their appreciation to the Samoan from the stands.
Mose has faced a long-hard battle since he suffered a spinal cord injury when playing for KR last January, leaving him paralysed.
He, partner Carissa and their three young children, daughters Evie-Rose and Marlowe and baby son Lui, are to return home to Australia in November and are in need of huge financial help to cover the cost of all the support and care they will require, with uncertainty still remaining over a possible insurance pay-out for his injuries.
The rugby ball he has carried travelled thousands of miles around the world this summer, collecting signatures of all club captains in Australia’s NRL, before being walked between Super League grounds. It will be auctioned off later in the year for the Mose Masoe Foundation.
As part of the walk, many legends of rugby league took part and were joined by television stars and supporters. Three members from the Armed Forces, Lt Col Andy Black, Warrant Officer Phil Stow and Staff Sergeant Steve Sampher, who lost a leg serving in Afghanistan and is in a wheelchair, completed the whole UK journey.
The final leg was originally scheduled to end at a Hull KR v Hull FC clash in June, however that had to be postponed due to Covid-19.
The ball will now be carried from its last resting place, Hull FC’s MKM Stadium, and walked to Hull College Craven Park ahead of The Robins crucial clash with Castleford tomorrow.
It will then be walked out before kick-off by Mose and his children, collecting the final captain signature of KR’s Shaun Kenny-Dowall.
Mose says he has been overwhelmed by the support shown across the world, both from Super League and the NRL. It has seen the Super League dedicate Round 2 to him, when thousands of fans bought ‘virtual tickets’ to games at a time when supporters were still not allowed to attend due to restrictions.
The Combined Nations All Stars team the sported a special shirt inspired by Mose himself in victory over England in June, which remains available for fans to buy with a percentage of proceeds going to the Foundation.
NRL sponsors Sportsbet then donated $5,000 dollars for each try celebration during ‘Try July’, adding thousands more to the money raised.
“The support I have had throughout this year has been absolutely amazing and it has been incredibly humbling to see more and more people coming forward who are willing to do incredible things to help me, my family, and of course others who suffer serious injuries playing this sport, as that is what the Foundation is for,” Mose said.
“The whole of rugby league seems to have been behind us, wishing us well and doing all they can to support us, and we are so grateful for that. It will never be forgotten.
“Of course, the support of fans of St Helens and Hull Kingston Rovers fans is truly special. They really took me into their hearts and the support and love they have shown towards me and my family has only become stronger since my injury.
“I am excited about walking out tomorrow with my family beside me. All the messages of support and best wishes have helped keep us strong and I would like to thank each and every person.
“It will be really emotional, I know that. Hull KR will always hold a special place in our hearts as the club has done everything for us. It will be a moment which I am sure will stand alongside the very best I take from my career.”
Mike Smith, Chairman of Trustees of the Foundation, said: “This final leg of the walk has been a long-time coming given we finished what was meant to be the penultimate leg in June.
“It was a hugely challenging task – an emotional but ultimately rewarding journey to get the ball across the country and it was a tremendous effort by all involved.
“The team faced some really tough days, but there was a brilliant atmosphere, lots of laughs and jokes and encouragement throughout the whole event. The three members of the military who led us from the start were unbelievable and despite pain and blisters, just carried on going.
“We had so many people coming out to chat to us and beeping their horns to offer their support, and to have people like Mikey North from Coronation Street and Chris Kamara giving up their time to take part was brilliant.
“Hopefully people will come out and show their appreciation as the group walks from the MKM Stadium to Hull College Craven Park tomorrow. It should be a great day.”
People can donate any amount through the Foundation’s Go Fund Me page at www.mosemasoefoundation.co.uk, or make a donation between £5 and £20 via text by texting 5BALL, 10BALL, 15BALL or 20BALL to 70085.
Texts costs amount donated + standard message rate.
The team will depart the MKM Stadium at 2.30pm. Updates on progress will be provided on social media.