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The NRL All Stars have made Western Sydney the launch-pad for their historic campaign with locally bred heroes Jarryd Hayne, Israel Folau, Luke O’Donnell and Michael Jennings among the big names to join 200 children to play the ARL Development’s Backyard League at Blacktown’s H.E. Laybutt Field.

Wayne Bennett, Darren Lockyer, Benji Marshall and the NRL All Stars were on hand with NRL Chief Executive David Gallop in the Rugby League heartland on the first day of the NRL’s 2010 Community Carnival.

“Western Sydney continues to produce some of Rugby League’s biggest names,” Mr Gallop said.

“Its contribution to the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars is clear to anyone who looks through the team lists for the match and it is a fitting place for the NRL All Stars to launch their campaign for a match that has attracted national attention.

“In the countdown to the All Stars game, over 100,000 children will meet NRL players from all clubs during the Community Carnival.

“Through One Community, the visits will promote nutrition and literacy programs as well as showing kids the benefits of an active lifestyle.

“It’s an exercise that the players look forward to each year and it underlines the extent to which Rugby League touches the lives of millions of Australians.”

While the Community Carnival will take players from 16 clubs across much of Australia, the NRL All Stars head to the Gold Coast this afternoon for the final countdown to Saturday night’s (February 13) Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars game at Skilled Park.

Representatives of both the NRL All Stars and the Indigenous All Stars will be on hand at Skilled Park at 10:30am AEST (9.30am Sydney AEDT) tomorrow for an announcement that will underline the on-going significance of the All Stars concept.

Also tomorrow, at 11:30am (AEST) at Station Reserve, Robina, members of the New South Wales and Queensland Under 16s Indigenous teams will have the chance to train against their idols in an opposing training session with the Indigenous All Stars.

The Under 16s sides will play the curtain raiser match to the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars, with many of the team members travelling from far and wide to take part in the match.

Following the training session, both Under 16s sides will join the Indigenous All Stars for a BBQ.

Continuing their busy agenda tomorrow afternoon, the Indigenous All Stars will have their first and only public fan signing session when the squad travels to Harvey Norman’s Bundall complex at 4:00pm (AEST).

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.

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