In one of the biggest days of this year’s Community Carnival, Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall today led a host of NRL players who visited more than 17,000 school children in skills clinics and school assemblies across NSW.

Marshall and his Wests Tigers team-mates joined more than 8,000 students in schools across Balmain, Ashfield and Strathfield as part of a Wests Tigers blitz of the inner west.

Speaking about his dreams and achievements when growing up, Marshall revealed to an excited assembly at Strathfield South Public School that he used to be a marble and badminton champion before turning his focus to Rugby League.

On the NSW South Coast, the Melbourne Storm helped local kids fine-tune their skills in Rugby League super clinics at Merimbula and Bega.

Just a few hours north, the Canberra Raiders visited more than 8,000 students as they began their three-day Community Carnival tour in Batemans Bay, which will tomorrow see the club visit 12 schools in the region.

In the state’s north, the Newcastle Knights toured the Taree and Forster regions with playmaker Jarrod Mullen entertaining students at Forster Public School with his pilates and yoga displays.

After the success of their local blitz in Penrith last Friday, the full Panthers squad today ventured to Kempsey and Wauchope, visiting more than 20 schools across the region to encourage students to ‘Dream, Believe, Achieve’.

Yesterday, more than 600 school children from the Sydney area came face-to-face with their NRL heroes as Braith Anasta led the Sydney Roosters in hosting students at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Students from schools including Paddington and Bondi Beach Public were treated to activities ranging from Backyard League clinics and trivia to learning about the Roosters ‘Stick With It’ community program.

Now in its 10th year, the 2011 Community Carnival is the game’s biggest yet, with more than 500 NRL players and ARL Development officers visiting 70,000 children across 118 towns across NSW, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand.

Throughout February, the 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.