Antonio Winterstein and John Asiata.
Antonio Winterstein and John Asiata.

Cowboys stars rescue flood victims

NORTH Queensland Cowboys star John Asiata and former teammate Antonio Winterstein have been filmed rescuing stranded Townsville residents as floodwaters inundate the region.

The footage - captured by Winterstein's wife Brooke - shows the moment the men drop two young boys off having picked them up in their boats.

"We've got a lot of people here with cars and if you need we're dropping people off at the army barracks," Brooke says on the Facebook live stream as the boat docks near the street.

"So if you are in Idalia near Abbott St message us on here. The boys are all doing trips over in the boats to come and get you. One of the families that just came over said there's a house with 21 people in there.

"If there's anyone in the Idalia or Oonoonba area there are boats coming to get you."

The video was posted about 10am Monday and was inundated with requests for help.

Winterstein retired from the NRL last year, while Asiata has played 94 games since joining the Cowboys in 2014.

Cowboys coach Paul Green said everyone from his club is "safe and secure" after a night of uncertainty as floods hit the city of Townsville on Sunday.

Green met with a number of his staff on Monday morning, including CEO Jeff Reibel, COO Michael Luck and director of football Peter Parr, to make sure all their players and staff were safe and had somewhere to stay as heavy rains continued to fall in the north.

While Green himself has managed to avoid being impacted by the floods, a number of his players and staff were evacuated from their homes overnight, including Ethan Lowe, Shane Wright, Jake Granville and assistant coaches David Fairleigh and David Tangata-Toa.

On Monday morning, veteran forward Gavin Cooper and his family also had to be helped out of their house by Asiata in a boat, while Scott Bolton rescued Ben Hampton and his two dogs.

Aerial pictures show the devastation around Townsville. Picture: Barry Gibson
Aerial pictures show the devastation around Townsville. Picture: Barry Gibson

"Last night was pretty bad," Green said of the situation in Townsville.

"That was when it was at its worst. We know some of the staff got caught and players. They were without power and we couldn't contact them.

"This morning Jeff, Michael Luck, myself and Parry, the first priority for us was to do a head count and make sure everyone was safe and had somewhere to stay.

"As of this morning, we're all safe and secure.

"Under the circumstances, our players and staff safety was the first thing. It's pretty hairy, particularly last night."

Green said most of the team were now staying in the evacuation centres while the likes of Asiata, Wright, Bolton, Michael Morgan, retired winger Winterstein and football operations manager Glenn Hall were out assisting other flood victims.

"Everyone was seeing what they could do to help," Green said.

"Wrighty got evacuated last night but was back there helping this morning as well."

News Corp Australia


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