St George Illawarra Dragons prop Jack Stockwell will honour close friend Alex McKinnon by wearing the number 16 jersey during the fixture against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Monday.
The Picton Magpies junior had originally been named in the number 17 jersey but has since been granted permission to swap shirts with teammate Will Matthews who had previously been named as number 16.
Both Stockwell and McKinnon played alongside each other in the Club’s lower ranks with the former now looking forward to doing his part to help celebrate the Rise For Alex round like many others this weekend.
“I have known Alex since our high school days and wanted to do something to help honour him during the game on Monday,” said Stockwell.
“During the week I discussed wearing the number 16 jersey with our Football Manager who was more than supportive to helping make this happen with the assistance of the NRL.
“I have been permitted to swap over my existing shirt number with Will Matthews, who had been named as number 16, and he understands and respects my reasons.
“Several other leading players in the NRL competition have done likewise this round which shows the standing that Alex has in the rugby league community with them wanting to honour him in a similar way.
“I am hoping to see him at some stage next week because he has had a fair few things on throughout the week in the build-up to this round.
“Everyone is stoked that he is back in Newcastle which means being closer to family and friends and most importantly being surrounded by things that make him who he is.”