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The NRL’s powerful ‘Tackle Bullying’ campaign will be the focus of the 2014 Community Carnival, a four-week tour starting in January that takes Rugby League stars far beyond their backyard in the largest community initiative in Australian sport.

NRL stars Matt Cooper and Nathan Hindmarsh are leading the charge in the far reaching movement that will see the Cowboys head to the far north Queensland region of Herbert River, the Wests Tigers travel more than 2700km to outback Alice Springs (NT) and the Storm leave Melbourne for the country town of Albury (NSW).

Packed with new educational resources developed with the Australian Catholic University (ACU), players from all 16 NRL teams will speak to children, teachers and parents about empowering students and coping with difficult social situations.

The annual event, kicking off with the Dragons visiting schools in Kiama on Tuesday, 28 January, is part of Rugby League’s commitment to making a positive difference in the community and speaking out on issues of social significance.

The Community Carnival, which last year saw NRL players visit 203,400 children at 840 schools across 358 towns, will wrap up on Tuesday, 24 February, with the Panthers, Eels and Roosters’ local activities.

“The NRL is in a unique position to make a positive social difference,” said NRL Interim Community, Culture and Diversity Interim General Manager, Mr Mark deWeerd.

“Social media means that it’s easier than ever for bullies to target victims and unfortunately the problem is increasing every year in Australian schools.

“We hope to give children the confidence and knowledge to cope with bullying and its effects through the powerful vehicle of Rugby League.”

Dragons prop Trent Merrin has opened up about his own experience dealing with bullies in a practical lesson plan that helps children identify the signs of bullying.

“Getting teased about my weight was a common occurrence for me at school until Year 10,” said Merrin.

“The same groups of students teased, taunted and pointed me out for years.

“As the teasing continued, I tried to put it to the side and concentrate on the positives instead of the teasing.”

Click here to keep up to date with all of the action during the Community Carnival on the NRL’s One Community Live Blog and lend your support on social media by posting pictures and comments using #NRLCommunity.

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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