Darren Lockyer, Benji Marshall, Nathan Hindmarsh and Petero Civoniceva will be among the NRL stars who will join 200 students for a game of Backyard League on Monday, when the NRL All Stars officially kick-off Rugby League’s annual Community Carnival at Western Weekender Stadium in St Marys.
Monday’s event will mark the start of the tenth annual Community Carnival, which this year will see more than 500 NRL and Toyota Cup players take the game’s healthy lifestyle, education, cultural diversity and harmony initiatives to more than 70,000 children across Australia and New Zealand.
Over the next month, 500 players from across the 16 NRL Clubs will join ARL Development staff for the game’s annual community blitz, which will visit 118 towns across Australia and cover more than 2800km, stretching from Tasmania to Longreach in Queensland.
From school and hospital visits to junior league coaching clinics, Rugby League’s Community Carnival will inspire children to lead healthy and active lives and to embrace Australians of all cultural backgrounds, as well as providing a focus for the tens of thousands of hours that NRL clubs and players dedicate each year to helping those in need.
NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, who on Monday will join the NRL All Stars and coach Wayne Bennett at St Marys, said: “Rugby League’s annual Community Carnival is a chance to share important health, education and harmony messages with tens of thousands of children in communities across Australia.
“Over the past decade, the NRL Community Carnival has become the focal point for the many thousands of hours our clubs and players spend in the community.
“For the second year running, the Community Carnival will start in the week leading up to the All Stars and both these initiatives are great examples of the positive difference Rugby League is making to the everyday lives of so many people.
“With Community Carnival trips planned to Tully and Ingham, our thoughts are with those residents who have been impacted by Cyclone Yasi.
“The North Queensland Cowboys had planned to visit these locations and recent events meant they were cancelled. We will continue to monitor the situation to identify ways that the NRL can help.”
Broncos halfback Peter Wallace, Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello, Eels centre Joel Reddy and Knights playmaker Jarrod Mullen will be among the NRL stars delivering One Community’s new ‘Dream. Believe. Achieve.’ and Harmony programs to high school students across Australia and New Zealand during the Community Carnival.
The ‘Dream. Believe. Achieve.’ program uses a documentary-style DVD featuring players telling their own individual stories to engage students and teach the importance of setting goals, staying in school and achieving life balance.
“The program inspires high school students to realise their potential and through the Community Carnival we are able to take that message to thousands of students across the country,” NRL Director of Community Relations, Ms Trish Crews, said.
“Last year alone, NRL players spent 22,000 hours in the community which is really exciting when you consider the positive impact this time has on so many Australian school kids.”
Over the next month, players will visit more than 280 schools in 118 communities throughout regional and rural Australia, handing out 10,000 One Community water bottles, 100,000 posters and 5,000 Harmony and ‘Dream. Believe. Achieve.’ DVD and classroom resource packs.
While the Community Carnival officially kicks off on Monday, some NRL Clubs have already began work with Broncos stars Nick Kenny, Scott Anderson and Corey Parker speaking to 2,000 Longreach students about the importance of good behaviour over the past two days.
Today will also see the Manly squad conduct skills clinics with over 1,200 North Sydney children while, further north, the Roosters will teach healthy lifestyle messages to students in the Queensland town of Ipswich.
Monday will see the Sharks, Dragons, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs and Titans spread themselves throughout NSW, including centres such as Dubbo, Griffith and Kingscliff.
For more information about Rugby League’s Community Carnival and the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars, visit www.nrl.com