Roxanne Hayne is surprised by former Maroons star Petero Civoniceva.
Roxanne Hayne is surprised by former Maroons star Petero Civoniceva. Craig Warhurst

NRL star Civoniceva plays 'Secret Santa' at Centro shops

FORMER Maroons and Australian league star Petero Civoniceva swapped his footy boots for a Santa hat in Gympie yesterday.

Petero was surprising locals at Centro shopping centre with random acts of kindness, handing out $50 Big W vouchers and paying for Santa photos for children.

Roxanne Hayne was the first shopper surprised by Petero.

She didn't know what was going on at first but was taken aback by the generosity.

"It was very nice," Ms Hayne said.

"Very unexpected."

Petero then played secret Santa to mother-of-five Sheree Wallace.

"It was trippy, I was speechless," Ms Wallace said.

"It has come at a great time with five littlies."

Beau Fleming was the next lucky recipient.

"I didn't recognise him at first," Mr Fleming said.

"With the two girls it will come in handy. I'm stoked. It will help pay for the pool we have in the trolley."

Petero's trip to Gympie follows Nathan Hindmarsh's surprise visit to shoppers and hospital patients in Bathurst on Monday.

Petero said he enjoyed being Santa for a day.

"It's been fantastic," he said.

"It's great as a game for us to be able to give back to the community.

"It's feels good to do something nice at this time of year. A lot of people were just getting things off lay-by and it was a great surprise."

Petero will continue the NRL's exciting Christmas initiative that will see rugby league ambassadors perform "random acts of kindness" for unsuspecting locals in a variety of locations in regional Queensland and New South Wales centres this week.

Next week NRL clubs will join the celebrations with players also playing secret Santa and hosting Christmas parties across the country and in Auckland, New Zealand, as part of a One Community and NRL Clubs joint initiative.

Gympie Times


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