Road to Regions trip takes Guerra, Tillett back home

Newcastle Knights second-rower Aidan Guerra and top 40 squad member Tahlulah Tillett will head back to their homeland in far north Queensland to deliver some key messages as part of the NRL's Road to Regions trip.

The initiative to target regional and remote communities began in February last year and aims to support and empower rugby league communities where no NRL club engagement is present.

Past and present NRL and NRLW players will spread themselves across eight different locations in New South Wales and Queensland from February 4 to February 8, where they will deliver targeted educations programs at schools, visit local junior rugby league clubs and participate in fundraising events.

Guerra said he leapt at the opportunity to visit the communities in Malanda and Atherton, near where he grew up in Cairns.

"I know how much football means to people in North Queensland so for me it was an easy one when I was asked if I wanted to go on the trip up there," Guerra said.

"You know up there that they just live and breathe football so I'm looking forward to getting up there and having a chat with some of the young people that love rugby league."

As part of the targeted educations sessions players, both past and present will encourage mental and physical well-being through the delivery of cyber-safety messages and the NRL's State of Mind program.

"The digital world has taken over," Guerra said.

"I have kids of my own and to know they're growing up in a climate that is a lot different to what I grew up in is quite scary.

"We need to make sure we are educating our children and the younger generation on how dangerous the web can be and the effects it can have on our mental health, and also show them how they can use it appropriately to protect themselves."

Tillett, who was ruled out of the inaugural NRLW competition due to an ACL injury, said she was eager to do her part in giving back to the community in Far North Queensland as she was offered so much growing up in Cairns.  

"A lot has been given to me over the years with both touch football and rugby league in terms of support and coaching," Tillett said.

"The way I want to repay the people that have helped me is to give back to the next generation and teach them not just about sport but also other experience I've had in my life whilst delivering some important and serious messages.

"And having ruptured my ACL last year and spending 12 month out of the game, along with missing the first NRLW as a result, I understand how important staying onto of your mental health is.   

"I'm sure the experience will also help me further grow as a person, hearing stories from the kids and the other players who are joining me on the trip."

 

A list of the 2019 NRL Road to Regions locations and players attending locations is below:

Charters Towers (North QLD): 4-5 Feb
Coen Hess (Cowboys) and Brittany Breayley (NRLW)

Roma and Districts (Central QLD): 4-6 Feb
Frank Winterstein (Sea Eagles), Simaima Taufa (Roosters) and Ali Brigginshaw (NRLW)

Armidale (North West NSW): 4-6 Feb
Robbie Rochow (Tigers), Tim Mannah (Eels) and Corban McGregor (NRLW)

Griffith and Leeton (South West NSW): 4-6 Feb
Jordan Rapana (Raiders), Dale Finucane (Storm) and Ruan Sims (NRLW)

Malanda and Atherton (Far North QLD): 6-8 Feb
Kurt Capewell (Sharks), Aiden Guerra (Knights) and Tahlulah Tillett (NRLW)

Biloela and Monto (Central QLD): 6-8 Feb
Joe Ofahengaue (Broncos), Adam Doueihi (Rabbitohs) and Chelsea Baker (NRLW)

Grafton and Yamba (Northern NSW): 6-8 Feb
Fa’amanu Brown (Bulldogs), Anthony Don (Titans) and Isabelle Kelly (NRLW)

Coolah, Dunedoo and Wellington (Western NSW): 6-8 Feb
Euan Aitken (Dragons), Tim Grant (Panthers), Talesha Quinn (NRLW) and Ruan Sims (NRLW)

For more information on the 2019 NRL Road to Regions tour, visit www.nrl.com/community