Twelve lucky young rugby league players from Dubbo are visiting Sydney this week as part of the Telstra Junior Rugby League Interchange, an initiative that has taken the ‘city to the country and the country to the city’ in the Kids to Kangaroos community grassroots program.
Aged between 11 and 13 years old, the young players from West Dubbo’s St Pius Primary School are having the experience of their lifetime during their stay in Sydney’s northern beaches.
Unfortunately the weather in Sydney over the past week prevented the players from participating in a scheduled Rugby League tournament today against some local clubs, however the boys from the bush were lucky enough to not only view the sights around Sydney Harbour and take a tour of the Narrabeen Sports Academy, but participate in an exclusive autograph and meet and greet session with members of the Manly Sea Eagles.
The Eagles players took time out of their training session to speak with the young team from Dubbo about their rugby league aspirations and sign a few autographs.
“It’s such a wonderful opportunity for these kids from West Dubbo, many of whom would never get the chance to travel to Sydney let alone meet some of the players that these kids watch on tv every week of the NRL season,” said St Pius Assistant Principal and rugby league coach, Greg Cant.
The players travelled to Sydney by bus, arriving on Wednesday with an entourage of supporting parents and teachers, most just as keen as their young charges to meet the Sea Eagles players.
This is the first year of Telstra’s Interchange Junior Rugby League initiative, an extension of the Kids to Kangaroos existing program run in conjunction with the NRL.
Earlier in the season a group of junior Rugby League players from Canberra visited Dubbo to play in the David Peachey Shield experiencing a taste of the country on the way spending time on a farm in nearby Tottenham where they tried their hand at cattle herding, damper making and a trip to the local stream to catch some yabbies.
“We are very proud of the Telstra Junior Rugby League Interchange initiative and being able to create a special educational experience for both regional and metropolitan Junior Rugby League kids,” said Telstra Area General Manager Jonathon Grahame
“We are also pleased to be presenting $1500 worth of Rugby League equipment to the local host club through the Telstra Assistance Fund,” he added.
The Finals of the Telstra Interchange Junior Rugby League program will take place on Thursday August 26 at Macquarie University.
Telstra has been a long term supporter of grass roots community rugby league through both the Kids to Kangaroos program and the Telstra Assistance Fund helping eligible sport and community clubs around Australia with essential equipment.