As part of the NRL’s commitment to the heartland of the game, NRL Victoria ventured out to regional areas last week.
The Road to Regions initiative is aimed to help support and empower the broader rugby league communities, to ensure their success and to grow the game.
Last week, members of the NRL Victoria Game Development team were joined by Victorian junior and current Parramatta Eels NRLW player Najvada George to deliver the League Stars Inspire Program to a number of schools.
Having played her junior rugby league for the Werribee Bears in Melbourne, George said the opportunity to give back to the regional community and help grow the game in those regions was extremely rewarding.
“It was my first time being part of the Roads to Region program and being here in Victoria it was great to get out to those country schools,” George said.
“The country kids are great fun, they just live life and while they are a lot smaller schools than those in the city, getting to teach them messages like gratitude and resilience was really rewarding,” she said.
“I think resilience and gratitude are things that are important to teach them while they’re young because if you’re a good person you will go a long way in not just sport but in life as well.”
Working alongside Ali Tuai, Game Development Officer Jye Ballinger said the response from the schools was extremely positive and he hopes that the program can help bring a whole new group of fans to the game.
“We were out there in our Storm and NRL gear and got to teach them about not only our game but the NRL’s values,” Ballinger said.
“To see the smiles on their faces and see them enjoying our company was a great experience for all,” he said.
“It was great to meet Najvada from the Eels, she was a ball of energy herself and I think that rubbed off on the kids as they all wanted to get involved in the activities,” he said.
“We played some fun games in between the presentation and also promoted our Come n Try Day, the schools were great so definitely generated some new fans.”