The Cup will now be a yearly battle between the club, assisting Emergency Services personnel who give their services to the communities of both Victoria and New South Wales.
At the Round One clash, the Storm will wear special commemorative jerseys that will feature a yellow ribbon embroidered into them, with each playerâ€™s jersey to be auctioned off to raise money for the Bushfire Relief Appeal.
In the corresponding clash in Round 21, the Dragons will do likewise with their jerseys.
Storm CEO Brian Waldron says the fixture, which is fully supported by both the Victorian and New South Wales governments, is a fitting tribute to those in the Emergency Services who have done so much for Victoria in recent times.
â€œI donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve come across a person in Victoria that hasnâ€™t been either directly or indirectly affected by the tragic bushfires,â€ said Waldron.
â€œWe, as a Club, wanted to pay tribute to those Emergency Services personnel who have helped so many people affected by the bushfires, whether that be fighting the fires themselves; providing food, clothing and shelter; or just being there to listen and help in any way they can.
â€œThe Emergency Services Cup will not only pay tribute to these wonderful people now, but also each and every time the Storm and Dragons meet, and I think thatâ€™s fitting recognition of the services these people provide now and in the future.â€
When contacted by Waldron to discuss the concept, St George-Illawarra CEO Peter Doust had no hesitation in supporting such a worthy cause.
â€œThe Emergency Services across our nation play a vital role in supporting our communities,â€ said Doust.
â€œWhile justifiably in recent times we have all focused on Victoria, there will always be a need for these valuable services somewhere.
â€œThe Dragons would like to play a part in recognising their role and contribution â€“ the people who give and the people who deliver.â€
Victorian Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said that emergency services personnel from all over Australia had worked tirelessly to help Victorians get through the worst natural disaster in Australiaâ€™s history.
â€œItâ€™s been a huge national effort and the Brumby Government and all Victorians are truly grateful for the assistance our interstate and international colleagues have offered to our own volunteer and career fire-fighters and emergency services personnel,â€ Cameron said.
â€œThe spirit and endeavour of our emergency service workers and their interstate counterparts has been vital to ensuring the safety of Victorians during one of the harshest summers weâ€™ve ever faced and their contribution canâ€™t be praised highly enough.â€
The NSW Minister for Emergency Services the Hon. Steve Whan also immediately endorsed the Emergency Services Cup initiative in both Melbourne next weekend and the mid-year return match in Sydney (Round 21).
â€œThis is a great way to pay tribute to the thousands of emergency services personnel from both NSW and Victoria who worked tirelessly to fight these fires,â€ said Whan.
â€œItâ€™s a fitting tribute â€“ sporting heroes playing to show our appreciation for emergency services heroes.
â€œAnd while itâ€™s certainly a fun event, as a community we will never forget the brave work done fighting fires. Nor will we forget those who now face the daunting task of rebuilding their lives.â€
To add to the occasion, international music act Chris Isaak will entertain the crowd at half-time by performing two songs, while local act Anthony Callea will perform two of his songs before the game, as well as sing the Australia national anthem.
Gates open at 5.00pm with the under-20â€™s kicking-off their 2009 campaign at 5.35pm. The NRL clash will kick-off at 7.35pm.