A WHITEHAVEN RL star has auctioned off his 2020 away shirt to raise funds for a former Leeds Rhinos player who has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Papua New Guinea ace Dion Aiye put the shirt from last season’s memorable League 1 title-winning campaign up for auction on December 27.

The lucky winner was Robert Ennis, who put in a £160 bid.

Aiye said: “I decided to do something to raise money for Rob Burrow as he is a player I have always admired and loved to watch.

“I was heartbroken to hear the news so I decided to auction my playing shirt to the highest bidder.

“I’m delighted that it’s reached £160 and I’d like to thank Robert for his generosity.”

Aiye presented his shirt to Mr Ennis at the club’s Recreation Ground home on Friday.

Mr Ennis said: “I put a bid in for the shirt because it was Dion’s but mainly because it was for a fantastic cause.

Burrow revealed his diagnosis in December, leading to an outpouring of support from rugby league and sport fans.

The father of three is a five-time international star and now serves as head coach of the Leeds Rhinos reserve team.

“It was terrible to hear that Rob had been diagnosed with motor neurone sisease and if my contribution helps that’s great, I think it’s great what Dion has done as well to raise money for Rob,” Mr Ennis added.

The funds raised by the auction will contribute to an online fundraiser, set up by Burrow’s own club which has already surpassed £200,000.

An early goal was set at £100,000 but generous backers smashed the target within 48 hours.

Whitehaven team manager Des Byrne said: “It is a great cause.

“The rugby league family is always around at times of adversity.

“This was entirely off his own back.”

The stand-off, who has played internationally for the PNG side, will continue to play for Whitehaven in the near future.

Byrne said: “He has been with us about five years now and he has committed to the next three years.”

And he is one of a pair of former PNG players currently signed to the squad, along with Jessie Joe Parker.

Byrne added: “They are great lads, they have been here a long time. They are great assets for the club.”

It was announced this week that Burrow will make a return to the field on Sunday in a special fundraising game.

Burrow will play in the final stages of the Jamie-Jones Buchanan testimonial which sees former Leeds Rhinos players, Kevin Sinfield, Buchanan, and Jamie Peacock take on Bradford.

To support the Rob Burrow fundraiser, visit virginmoneygiving.com/fund/robburrow