Broncos share life lessons with students
He has role models most kids could only dream of but Broncos utility Aaron Whitchurch and fellow Brisbane teammates spent two hours on Friday encouraging students in Dalby west of Brisbane to become leaders in their own right.
As part of their two-day blitz of the Surat Basin in conjunction with club sponsor Arrow Energy, members of the Broncos' senior squad assisted NRL development staff in conducting a leadership seminar at the Dalby PCYC.
Growing up in Delaneys Creek north-west of Brisbane, Whitchurch credited the hard-working ways of his parents for setting the right example and then the influence of two of rugby league's most famous names to allow him to realise his goals.
"My main role models were my mum and dad growing up," Whitchurch told NRL.com.
"Footy-wise, guys like Darren Lockyer and even Wayne Bennett.
"With mum and dad they led by example and worked hard for me and my brother and sisters and made sacrifices for us. Guys like Lockyer and Wayne don't talk a lot but they lead by their actions. They're good role models I think.
"The NRL staff ran most of the session but we had a bit of input on how we see good leaders, how we've seen good leaders in footy. What sort of attributes they have, how they lead by example and are trustworthy and all the different attributes of leaders.
"We're just trying to give them some advice in life and coming from footy as well, how they can be better leaders at school and have an impact on the other people at school."
The Broncos' tour of the Darling Downs concluded with a coaching clinic for 300 kids at Toowoomba's Clive Berghofer Stadium on Friday afternoon and gave a number of players a unique insight into life in regional communities.
Although Whitchurch himself attended a school of only 100 or so students, he said visiting schools with as few as 10 students was an eye-opening experience.
"We went to three different schools on Thursday," said the 23-year-old. "One of them had about 30 kids, the second one had about 10 kids and the third one had 20 or 30 as well.
"It was interesting; I've never been to a little school like that before.
"It's a bit of a privilege to be able to go out to different communities and see the little kids and see the smiles on their faces and just have a good time and brighten up their day.
"I remember playing in rep teams when I was 11 or 12 and we had Casey McGuire come out and talk to us and I loved that. That was a pretty big deal for me when I was younger."