Community Carnival: 60 players and 4000km

The Cowboys' Antonio Winterstein, the Sea Eagles' Matt Ballin and Bulldogs player Steve Turner were just some of the more than 60 players who today spread themselves across 4000km of Australia as part of Rugby League’s 2011 Community Carnival.

Despite the impact of Cyclone Yasi, the Cowboys continued their enormous Community Carnival commitments, visiting the Queensland towns of Tully, Charters Towers, Mossman, Bowen, Collinsvale, Nebo, Glenden, Home Hill, Thursday Island, Weipa, Mt Isa, Emerald and Mackay, as well as Katherine in the Northern Territory, to teach kids Rugby Leagues skills, healthy lifestyle choices and the importance of education, cultural diversity and harmony.

Cowboys players Dallas Johnson and Ricky Thorby crossed the Daintree River and travelled 30 kilometres into the Daintree Rainforest to visit the 37 students of Alexandra State School. Isolated from main roads, the school had been waiting for seven years for a visit from their sporting heroes.

Meanwhile, the Manly Sea Eagles stationed themselves in Western NSW in the Rugby League town of Griffith, where they visited Tharbogang School and surprised students with prizes for an impromptu Rugby League quiz.

Tomorrow, the Cowboys will continue their visits to the northern tip of Queensland, while the Eels concentrate on their hometown of Parramatta. The Bulldogs will remain in Adelaide for school visits, the Wests Tigers will go to the South Coast of NSW and the Titans will visit Murwillumbah in NSW.

Now in its 10th year, the 2011 Community Carnival will be the game’s biggest yet, with more than 500 NRL players and ARL Development officers visiting 70,000 children across 118 towns and covering 2,800 kilometres, from Adelaide and Tasmania and Longreach in Queensland.

Over the next three weeks, Community Carnival will visit more than 280 schools throughout rural and regional Australia and will hand out 10,000 One Community water bottles, 100,000 posters and 5,000 Harmony and ‘Dream Believe Achieve’ DVDs and classroom resource packs.