PRIMARY school students from around the region descended on Gunnedah for the 22nd annual Coalminers Cup rugby league carnival on Thursday.
Featuring schools from as far away as Narrabri, Barraba and Somerton, the carnival acted as an introduction to the sport for primary aged children.
For the second consecutive year, Narrabri West Public School took out top honours in the boy's open division, going though the round-robin tournament undefeated.
The team's coach Jake Tester said the win would be a "major confidence boost" for his young side.
"It was a really great team effort from everyone," Tester told the Leader.
"They all had a lot of fun and to me that's the most important thing.
"Last year was the first time we had ever won it and I think our boys came in confident, gave it a red-hot crack and came out winners."
The day was also a success for Barraba Cental School and the Gunnedah South Public School Dragons.
Barraba secured victory in the girls Oztag while the Dragons took out the year 3-4 division.
Country Rugby League game development officer Peter Stevens said the competition "gets better and better every year."
"It takes a little bit to put a day like this together but it was really rewarding," Stevens said.
"The teachers and the schools in the area have really helped keep this thing going after we were lacking numbers a few years ago.
"We did change the date of the carnival from the end of the season to the beginning of the season and it has been really good to see a lot of the small schools coming over to take part."
Stevens said the carnival would act as a tool to help local junior rugby league clubs attract new players.
"It's a good way to kick the year off for these kids and it is really good for them to have a hit out before the holidays," he said.
"Hopefully after the holidays the kids come back and want to get involved with their local club."
Gunnedah Bulldogs Junior Rugby League Club president Nick Wild said the club was always looking for new players.
"This carnival has been going a long time now and it is a fantastic recruiting tool for not just our club but clubs around the region," Wild said.
"For kids who don't normally get to play football on the weekends, this is a great opportunity to give it a try."