The three day carnival has had a strong focus on promoting One Community’s Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well message and already the feedback from schools and children has been overwhelming according the NRL’s Director of Community Relations Trish Crews.
“One school in South Western NSW has already instituted a ‘fruit-break’ while the feedback from kids from as far away as Thursday Island has been really rewarding,” she said.
“One teenager up there said that: ‘The boys have taught us that no matter where you live, or where you are from, there are opportunities and that it’s important to stay healthy and fit.’
“The carnival is a real eye-opener for many of the players and they are really enjoying it.”
From the swollen Norman river in North Queensland - which has spread past its banks to cover a width of 60kilometres - to tiny schools like Strathenden - just 26 students including three sets of twins - the carnival has brought 107 NRL players together with the kids and characters of regional Australia.
After a bumpy charter flight to Cloncurry the Wests Tigers pair of Beau Ryan and Taniela Tuiaki came to grips with one such character, an arm wrestler named CJ. Of course the challenge was met, with the Tigers proving no match for the wily eighteen year old, who had the whole town cheering him on before he sang the Cowboys team song in victory.
At Allora, the town where Wayne Bennett grew up, another incisive football mind was at work when a six-year-old school girl challenged Broncos' half Peter Wallace over how he would cope with two referees.
While the main phase of the One Community Carnival wraps up this afternoon further activities are planned for both New Zealand and Adelaide in the weeks ahead.
One Community’s Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well message will continue throughout the year as will One Community’s support of programs such as the Premier’s reading challenge and of charity partners the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Youngcare, the Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia and Lifeline.