COREY Norman’s hidden motivation to lead Parramatta to premiership glory is club legend Brett Kenny and his brave stepson.
The Eels star has made special visits to Kenny’s stepson Riley Hilditch, who is in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Riley, 16, is confined to a wheelchair after shattering his C5 vertebrae in a creek accident at Chittaway Bay on the Central Coast this year.
“It just puts things into perspective,” Norman said.
Norman is also drawing motivation from Kenny, who starred in his blue-and-gold No. 6 jersey when Parramatta won four premierships in the 1980s.
Norman has met Kenny, who is having chemotherapy for lymphoma cancer, several times.
“When we do the hospital visits, we pop in and see Riley,” said Norman, who will be central to Parramatta’s chances against the Gold Coast on Thursday night at ANZ Stadium.
“He is very upbeat for his situation, which is great.
“I guess he’s got really good support around him. I saw him again just the other week when we were doing a visit.
“You think you’re having a hard day at training. Especially when you’re living your dream, it’s not that bad. There are so many people out there like Riley who are struggling a lot more than you. It puts a smile on their faces and puts things into perspective for us.”
Kenny, 54, is Parramatta’s greatest five-eighth and Norman and the modern-day Eels are staunchly behind him in his cancer battle.
“He is fighting his own battle, very unfortunate,” Norman said.
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“Like Riley, Brett has very good support. A very good wife (Suzanne) and family that will be by his side.”
Norman is too young to have seen Kenny play but knows his legendary reputation.
“He was a bit before my time but I know about his history here at the club,” Norman said. “It’s sad to see something like this happen to a Parramatta legend.
“He is massive. He was in the club’s golden era. It was very sad for Parra fans when they heard he got ill.
“The message from us and the fans is that we are definitely behind him. He seems like a strong character and he will be fighting it hard.”
Norman treasures wearing the No. 6 jersey that Kenny made famous alongside halves partner Peter Sterling in the glory years of 1981, ’82, ’83 and ’86.
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