School kids across the Central West have been treated to a visit by some of St George Illawarra’s biggest stars.
Players have spent the last three days visiting schools at Kandos, Rylstone, Dunedoo, Lithgow and Mudgee to deliver important messages about respect, nutrition and belonging.
More than 5200 students had the chance to interact with their heroes including Paul Vaughan, Euan Aitken and Jeremy Latimore and Australian Jillaroos star Kezie Apps, who works part-time with the Dragons and shows that girls and women can make their name in the sport.
The players really enjoyed and embraced the encounters, Dragons community manager Paul Everill said.
“Our players have been spreading important messages to children from a number of schools and they take the job very seriously,” he said.
“It’s more than just a chance to say hello. They are really excited to be able to use their profile to assist teachers and talk about some really important parts of the school curriculum.
“There is a well being assembly with a an interactive presentation, and an opportunity for questions. They do a lot of preparation to deliver that message.”
Prior to their visit to Mudgee, the club has embarked on a similar campaign in their own area, visiting 70 schools in the Illawarra and South Coast regions and another 20 in the St George area.
Mr Everill said it was important to the Dragons to be able to visit children in the wider region, who might not get the chance to see NRL players very often.
He said the players would visit schools again when they returned for their clash with the Canberra Raiders in May.
“We’re very committed forging a strong relationship with Mudgee and the surrounding region over the next two years and hopefully beyond,” he said.
“We believe country areas are the life blood of rugby league and we are excited by the reaction we have received.”
Players also paid a visit to local offices of major sponsor Westfund to for a meet and greet with staff.