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Burns Victim's Tale of Survival to Inspire Fittler's Men

Eyes fixed to the front of the room, James Maloney takes a sip of his water – desperate to bury the lump of emotion which swells in his throat.

The veteran five-eighth has felt every feeling which Rugby League could ever provide. But the emotions the game generates pale in comparison to the ones of real-life trauma.

Barely a week after basking in the glory of a break-through State of Origin series win, Maloney and his NSW teammates are given a reality check.

Gathering at an intimate meeting at the team's Coogee base, Brad Fittler leans upon Jamie Manning to share his horrific story of courage and survival.

Manning – now an ambassador for road safety in conjunction with Transport for New South Wales –  had lost a leg and a hand during a horrific road accident near Dubbo in March, of 2014.

Suffering burns to 40 per cent of his body, Manning fractured his skull and broke his back in the accident which very nearly cost him his life.

Somehow, someway, he survived the exploding wreck that was his car to now tell the courageous tale of his fight to return to 'normal' life.

"All the doctors said he couldn't [survive], or couldn't [return to work], but he's done it... it's impressive," Maloney says of Manning's story.

Just 90 seconds after being dragged clear of his car by good Samaritans, Manning's car exploded into flames.

"You lose all your problems for a while," Fittler adds.

"You can't even send your mind there... Everyone walked out thinking others have it worse.

"It's just a remarkable story, he takes you to a place where you are thinking a lot; his courage to get out of his car. I hope the boys were really inspired."

Fittler's men heeded the messages – to be grateful for opportunities, and thankful for rewards. To make informed decisions, and to set goals.

The NSWRL and Transport for New South Wales continue to work closely to deliver presentations on 'The Knock-on Effect', first launched in 2017.

NSWRL Ambassador Josh Perry – alongside fellow True Blues Laurie Daley, Steve Menzies, Tim Brasher, Shaun Timmins and Craig Wing – have recently undertaken educational stop-overs in Blayney, Forbes, Wagga Wagga, Leeton, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, spreading the importance of road safety in rural communities.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.