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Preston Campbell

Preston Campbell – Appeared 1st June, 2020

  • Professional Rugby League Player for 14 years
  • Director of the Preston Campbell Foundation
  • Director Phyre Apparel

After years of watching the Tingha Tigers play from the sidelines, Preston started playing junior league for the Inverell Hawks in his early teens where he quickly developed a passion and talent for the game.

After only a few short junior league seasons, Preston debuted with the Gold Coast Chargers in 1998, propelling his 14-year professional football career.

Playing across four successful sides, Gold Coast Charges, Cronulla Sharks, Penrith Panthers and Gold Coast Titans, Preston was part of the Panther's winning Telstra Premiership side in 2003, and throughout his career scored an impressive 84 tries in 267 games.

After retiring in 2011, Preston now focuses on his community work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, creating the Preston Campbell Foundation and serving as an ambassador for Deadly Choices. Preston is also a partner of the Titans Community team.

Today, Preston lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and three kids. He is a director of the Preston Campbell Foundation and sports apparel company, Phyre Apparel.

Episode 1

On Monday, the 1st June, the NRL School to Work Program held their first Online Yarning Circle for all participants in the program expanding across NSW, ACT, Queensland and Victoria. To start the new initiative, Preston Campbell shared his inspiring story including many life lessons he has learnt during his exceptional and inspiring career. The session covered many topics including his childhood and the difficulty of leaving the comfort of his family, community and culture to pursue his rugby league career. He also shared his career highlights, his battle with mental health, and his achievements in starting the Indigenous All-stars, the Preston Campbell Foundation, and his own clothing brand, Phyre Apparel. 

Preston was joined with Clinton Toopi who facilitated the session and shared their personal experiences and the exceptional work they have achieved in Aboriginal communities around mental health.  

“I thought it was priceless, he had so many GREAT messages. The students also really enjoyed it, if they take one thing away from it, then it is successful”

Chris Williams Teacher from Coombabah State High

Preston's main points included:

  • Knowledge is power.
  • Connection to country is very important.
  • Sometimes we all have to get out of our comfort zone and learn something different. This will allow us to gain more confidence.
  • Always give yourself the opportunity to learn new things.
  • Don’t ever let people tell you that you can’t do stuff. Don’t be scared – go out and do what you want to do.
  • What makes us similar to others is what is important, not what makes us different.
  • Talent is not enough, you need to work hard at your chosen sport or activities.
  • Be as productive as possible and learn something new.
  • Aim to be a leader – lead your community.
  • Don’t ever underestimate what you can do for others and for yourself.
  • Take pride in yourself and your community.

Secondary College in Victoria also commented on the value of listening to such a positive and inspiring Aboriginal leader in Preston Campbell;

“It was amazing. Preston was a brilliant speaker. The content was really well spoken about, and I think important for the kids to hear; especially with all the craziness going on in the world over the last couple weeks/months. I know Preston’s vulnerability touched both students and I, and the entire Yarn made everyone’s day!”

Secondary College in Victoria
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Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.