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Sport The touching hidden tribute in NRL Premiership rings

01:01  21 october  2020
01:01  21 october  2020 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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NRL .com’s Sam Squires visits Affinity Diamonds for a first-hand look at what goes into an NRL premiership ring and how Johnathan Thurston added his touch .

The NRL Touch Premiership is the premier national domestic touch football competition in Australia. It was formed in 2018, through a partnership between its governing body, Touch Football Australia (TFA), and the National Rugby League ( NRL ).

This year's NRL Premiership rings will have a heartfelt tribute etched in white gold to recognise what has been an extraordinary 2020.

In Sunday's NRL grand final and NRLW grand final, the winning teams will be presented the Premiership rings valued at more than $10,000 each.

But after a tumultuous and unprecedented year, the NRL has honoured the efforts of health workers and those who fought the horrendous bushfires earlier this year in an extra special premiership ring design.

The NRL 2020 premiership winners will each get a ring paying tribute to firefighters and health staff. © 9News The NRL 2020 premiership winners will each get a ring paying tribute to firefighters and health staff.

Jewellers approached the NRL with a plan to recognise their sacrifices and hard work, culminating in a specially designed motif from Canberra artist Mick Ashley, depicting a fire fighter passing a ball to a nurse.

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It was an updated design to Ashley's original artwork released in April which shows a baton being passed with the message 'Hope'.

"It symbolises that changing of the guard between us but it also symbolises that we're all in this together," Fire and Rescue NSW Chief Superintendent Ken Murphy told Nine News Sydney.

a close up of a cell phone: The designers of the ring outlined its development. © 9News The designers of the ring outlined its development.

The ring also features the support services and animals on the other side of the band, honouring "all the people who do the work in the background, that everyone seems to forget about, but it also symbolises some of the wildlife that were lost during those fires".

"The firefighters have worked so hard all through summer and then it was over to us with the pandemic," ICU nurse at Northern Beaches Hospital Lyndal Keith added.

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Affinity Diamonds jeweller Sam Rhami revealed that he was approached by a Penrith Panthers player wanting to see the ring ahead of their grand final clash against the Melbourne Storm, but was reminded that it was bad luck and the player rescinded his request.

Rhami said the rings are white gold with two carets of diamonds, with the men's ring also featuring blue sapphires, while the women's ring has red rubies.

"They were colours that our fire chief and ICU nurse picked," Rhami said.

"The only reason the game is on is because of the first-responders.

"It was the right thing to do, to acknowledge the game is only on because of people like Lyndal and Ken."

A replica of the two Premiership rings will also be donated to Australia's emergency departments.

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