PARRAMATTA Eels might have a week-long training camp in Armidale and a pre-season trial against Newcastle Knights on Saturday but there’s some Sharks and Sea Eagles also floating around the region over the next few weeks.
The Eels and Knights play a pre-season trial at Bellevue Oval this Saturday but the Knights also have a February 23 date with the Cronulla Sharks at Tamworth’s Scully Park and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are also flying into the North West next week.
It’s all part of the NRL’s Community Carnival.
This year the NRL stars will deliver a new anti-bullying message to more than 120,000 students across Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa.
NRL interim chief executive Shane Mattiske joined General Manager of Community, Culture and Diversity, Trish Crews, and media personality and rugby league fan Charlotte Dawson to officially launch this year’s Community Carnival last week.
NRL players David Williams (Sea Eagles), John Morris (Sharks), Kaysa Pritchard (Eels) and Josh Mansour (Panthers) were also at the launch and they will be among more than 350 players from all 16 NRL clubs who will travel more than 40,000km across four countries during the 28 days of the Community Carnival.
Kicking off Thursday, the 2013 Community Carnival will deliver important lessons on the effects of bullying and the importance of building positive self-esteem through a powerful DVD and other resources.
Players will also deliver 25,000 anti-bullying banner pens, 10,000 water bottles, 3200 bags, pencil cases and stationery sets, 30,000 wrist bands and 150,000 player and ambassador cards during the community initiative which is unrivalled in Australian sport.
Mattiske said the 12th annual Community Carnival was the ideal platform for launching the NRL’s “Tackle Bullying” campaign, with the most recent Australian Government study into bullying revealing one in four (27 per cent) Australian students (Year 4-9) are bullied frequently.
“Community Carnival is a special time of year where a huge contingent of players travel far and wide to visit those areas that don’t usually get the chance to come face-to-face with NRL players,” Mattiske said.
“This year’s ‘Tackle Bullying’ message is an important one, with the effects of bullying well documented in the media.”
The Sea Eagles will be in the North West from February 4-5 and visit Bingara Central School and hold junior rugby league clinics in Wee Waa and Moree – they will also visit the children’s ward at Moree Hospital.
The Sharks will come from February 20-22 and visit nine schools in Tamworth, Manilla, Quirindi and Werris Creek.
The Knights will come on February 22 and visit several schools.