Game unites to support Daniel Anderson after catastrophic spinal injury

Published by
01 Jun 2023

The rugby league community has come together to help raise much-needed funds for the former New Zealand Kiwis coach Daniel Anderson.

Anderson, who also coached the Warriors, Parramatta Eels and St Helens, and now works in a recruitment role at Sydney Roosters, suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury late last year following a body surfing accident on the NSW Central Coast.

The 56-year-old was present via video link at Rugby League Central on Monday, joining NRL CEO Andrew Abdo, Roosters coach Trent Robinson, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary as well as former players Nathan Hindmarsh and Mark Coyne, in announcing the launch of several initiatives to aid in his recovery.

In addition to the establishment of The Daniel Anderson Support Fund, Abdo also announced that Round 25 of the 2023 NRL Premiership would be dedicated to raising funds for Anderson, headlined by the clash between the Eels and Roosters on August 18.

The Daniel Anderson Support Fund was launched by NRL CEO Andrew Abdo (NRL Photos)

An organising committee, which includes the CEOs of the Eels, Roosters, Warriors and St Helens, along with Family of League deputy chair Bradley Clyde and other representatives, will promote further events, including a lunch in Sydney on July 7.

“This is what we do in rugby league – we get together, and we do what we can in order to help out,” Abdo said. “It is great to belong to a family who are able to get together with all partners of the game to help out someone who needs help.

“We look forward to hopefully some great news in terms of what we are able to achieve in the coming weeks and months as everyone in the game gets an opportunity to show their support and gratitude for what you have done for the game.”

Close to six months on from when the injury occurred, Anderson said he was “overwhelmed” by the support from all parts of the rugby league community.

“I can’t say thank you enough,” Anderson said. “I’m very grateful.

“I’ve been involved in rugby league for a long time... I can’t thank the game enough, it’s as simple as that. It’s going to help me get better again and extract everything I can.

“I’ve had dozens of video messages since the accident when I wasn’t as healthy as I am now, so it gave me time to watch the video messages from all over the world – people in New Zealand, in England and the rugby league community in Australia.

“I can’t be more thankful because it got me through some tough times.

“I look forward to going back to work and entering the community again in the next few months. These are all part of the pathway for me to get back to what will be a new style of life for me.”

Anderson began his coaching career at Parramatta’s junior grades in the 1990’s, working his way up to an assistant coaching level in 2000.

He made his head coaching debut at the Warriors in 2001, taking the New Zealand club to the most successful period in their history with a maiden grand final berth in 2002.

During that period, he also took charge of the Kiwis for eight internationals between 2003 and 2005, before departing for St Helens where he would taste further success with a Super League premiership and World Club Challenge win.

Having all played under Anderson as coach at different parts of their careers, Robinson, Cleary and Hindmarsh paid tribute to their former mentor and gave their unwavering support to the ongoing fundraising initiatives.

Trent Robinson and Ivan Cleary at the launch of The Daniel Anderson Support Fund (NRL Photos)

“It’s been a tough period for the Roosters,” Robinson admitted, “but the thing is Ando [Anderson] has made it easier for everyone.

"We feel sorry for him but he doesn't feel sorry for himself."

"He does need our help but it’s hard for him to say he needs that helping hand. That’s why we’ve got to get behind him and help him because he’s delivered a lot to rugby league over many generations.”

“Daniel’s had a huge impact on so many people, more than he would ever understand,” Cleary said.

“I guess that’s part of what rugby league is about. It’s a small world and I think we’re all so privileged to be part of it and I feel really good about today and seeing Daniel.

“He totally transformed New Zealand rugby league and the Warriors... and I’m glad I was coached by Daniel, because I use a lot of what he taught me in what I do today.

“He would make it easier for people and he would never put his hand up, so I’d ask everyone out there to dig deep to help our Daniel and his family.”

Hindmarsh added: “He didn’t want any of this. He didn’t want to be seen to be any different to anyone else in this situation. It took us a while to get him across the line.

“He’s doing the best he can but there’s a long road in front of him. Raising as much money as we can is important because so much has changed in his life for him, his wife and his kids.”

To find out how you can support and contribute to the Daniel Anderson Support Fund, visit

Further information on fundraising initiatives will be communicated by the NRL.