EMOTIONAL GAME: Falcons centre Rueben Baillie offloads against the Pride. The Falcons will pay homage to James Ackerman tonight.
EMOTIONAL GAME: Falcons centre Rueben Baillie offloads against the Pride. The Falcons will pay homage to James Ackerman tonight. Warren Lynam

Let’s rise for Ackers

PLAY like Ackers.

That's the simple, but powerful motto the Sunshine Coast Falcons will be following when they run out against Mackay Cutters at Sunshine Coast Stadium tonight, in what will be an emotional evening.

A fortnight after the tragic incident which changed the lives of all involved with the Falcons, when beloved forward James Ackerman was injured in a tackle and later died, the men in black and yellow will have to reach into the depths of their courage reserves to topple the sixth-placed Cutters.

The result will be irrelevant tonight though.

For the fledgling club, come 6pm it's all about healing, and doing their mate proud.

"We've had a chat about it and it's all about playing for Ackers, but it's also about playing like Ackers," Falcons' coach Glen Dreger said.

"Ackers is a bloke to design your game around, that's something we've said to them, that if you can play like Ackers and conduct yourself like him, you're going to go a long way, and he was an absolute gentleman."

The grieving playing group have been bolstered by a great gesture from the Melbourne Storm, who left a number of Storm-contracted Falcons on the Coast with the lads and they would remain until tomorrow.

"The boys that are playing this weekend have stayed since the funeral and they're staying through until Sunday," Dreger said.

"That was a really special gesture from the Storm."

Dreger said he was expecting a huge effort from the Falcons 17 tonight.

"My heart will be just hoping to see the boys get out there and compete," he said.

"I'm looking for a really heartfelt 80 minutes."

In front of what should be a strong crowd, heartfelt is what tonight will be all about.



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