THE Sunshine Coast Falcons' number eight jersey will be hung up forever more, in honour of their fallen prop James Ackerman.
In a touching tribute to their mate, the Coast's Intrust Super Cup club yesterday decided to retire the jersey, out of respect for the 25-year-old forward and his family, after he died following an incident during a match against Norths on Saturday.
Falcons' CEO Chris Flannery confirmed the gesture yesterday, after a number of players had asked about the possibility of hanging up their late mate's jersey.
"The boys are right behind it. A couple of them asked if we were going to retire the jersey and we thought it would be the right thing to do to retire the number eight out of respect to James and his family. I think he deserves that," Mr Flannery said.
It's the latest in a flood of heart-warming moments since the passing of the widely-respected young father.
Reed Property Group yesterday contributed $5000 to the trust fund, now topping $20,000, established for his young family, while a number of politicians were looking to donate to the family.
The Falcons' lads also made a monetary commitment, with the players donating their match fees from the game against Norths to the fund, as preparations for Ackerman's funeral, to be held at 11am on Wednesday, July 1 at Sunshine Coast Stadium, get underway.
Falcons' chairman Ashley Robinson said the team would not be playing this weekend with the QRL confirming that yesterday afternoon.
Mr Robinson said Falcons players would not be playing for local club sides either, saying it was important to keep the group together, as they worked through their grief.
"We'll train tonight, train on Saturday and have a bit of a get together on Saturday with the families," Mr Robinson said.
Mr Robinson said his heart went out to Norths' Francis Molo, the player cited over the incident.
"I worry about the welfare of Francis as a human being ... it's a tragedy all-round," Mr Robinson said.
To donate to the Ackerman Family Trust Fund, deposit to: Bank of Queensland, BSB: 124 001, Acc#: 1150 0777, Ref#: 151 181
Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Daily