Australian bush fires: Cricketers Tim Paine, Nathan Lyon visit Southern Highlands NSW RFS, video

For the past month Australia’s cricketers have deflected their own hero status at every chance.

Instead, the men wearing the idolised baggy greens have used their sporting platform to thank the “real heroes” of Australia – the firefighters protecting their fellow countrymen and women and defending the land.

On Wednesday, less than 48 hours after celebrating a 3-0 series win over New Zealand in the hallowed SCG change rooms, Australian captain Tim Paine and star spin-bowler Nathan Lyon proved that their words weren’t meaningless.

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The duo drove down to the Southern Highlands to visit fire ravaged communities, drawing smiles and thanks from each new meeting.

“Myself and Nathan, obviously with the day off, thought it would be good idea just to come out and basically say g’day and say thank you to all the fire fighters that have been doing such a fantastic job down here in southern NSW,” Paine told the NSW RFS.” vms-caption=”Cricket: Australian Test captain Tim Pain and off-spinner Nathan Lyon have spent their day off in Wingello giving thanks to the brave souls of the Australian RFS.” vms-embedcode=”5348771529001-6120594870001″ class=”vms module”>

Cricket: Australian Test captain Tim Pain and off-spinner Nathan Lyon have spent their day off in Wingello giving thanks to the brave souls of the Australian RFS.

“Obviously they’re one small part of a big part of what’s been going on NSW and Victoria particularly. We just thought it was an important time for us to come out and say g’day and thank them and speak to some people in the community who have gone through a really tough time.

“It’s been a really special day for us, to come down and see some of the devastation and see the size of the fires that have come through places like this has been absolutely mind-blowing, and when you do see it you do see the flat out bravery of our fire men and women that have come out here to try and save lives and property has been an unbelievable effort.”

Along the way, Paine and Lyon visited Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who thanked the duo for visiting.

During the New Year’s Test, Australia’s bowling quarter donated $19,000 for each of the 19 wickets picked up during the match.

It was, according to Lyon, just a small act of kindness to a greater cause than playing cricket.

“The true heroes of Australia right now are the firefighters and the volunteers and it’s such a small little thing for us to donate a $1000 a wicket,” Lyon said.

“I think it’s good reward for us if we dig deep and our goal is to take 20 wickets to donate $20 grand for all the people affected by the fires. I think it’s a great cause. I’m pretty proud about that. We’re not doing it for recognition or anything like that, we just want to make sure that at the end of the day we’re playing a game of cricket and there’s been people been severely affected by fires and, if not, losing lives of family members.

“It puts cricket in perspective and I think it’s really showing Australia’s true colours and how everyone rallies behind our country or people when they’re having a hard time and really getting behind, and I’m proud to be Australian.”

Originally published as Aussie stars visit nation’s ‘real heroes’

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