Gunnedah kids brushed shoulders with their NRL idols on Friday.
Cody Walker (Rabbitohs), Ashley Taylor, Tyrone Roberts (Titans), Latrell Mitchell (Roosters) and Brian Kelly (Sea Eagles) were among the visiting party.
Three players – Walker, Roberts and Kelly – who all call north coast NSW home, took time out from representative commitments in Mudgee where they are preparing for Sunday’s City-Country match.
The brief visit to Gunnedah included a stopover at Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre.
Roberts, 25, spoke about the importance of family and staying true to his roots.
“I have a two-year-old, I know what family means,” the Titans’ playermaker said.
Clubmate Taylor, who was born and raised a Queenslander, described the hardships he faced juggling full-time work commitments and his passion for football.
“You sacrifice a bit at the start but it all comes back to you eventually,” Taylor said.
“Remember to never give up.
“Get stuck into school because it will all help down the track.”
Kelly, who debuted with the Sea Eagles earlier this year, preached the importance of perseverance to his attentive Gunnedah audience.
“You don’t have to be the most talented, freakish player,” Kelly said. “If you knuckle down, you can make it.”
Winanga-Li centre spokesman Wayne Griffiths thanked the generosity of players to talk to the kids in Gunnedah.
“I see a lot of players visit here but I’ve never seen this level of interaction,” Mr Griffiths said, watching as one player helps mould a sandcastle with a youngster.
“It’s a great effort to make this sort of commitment.”
The NSW Country side named on Monday to play City includes:
- 1. Michael Gordon – Tweed Coast / Sydney Roosters2. Anthony Don – Grafton Ghosts / Gold Coast Titans3. TBA (Euan Aitken has withdrawn with a hamstring injury)4. Cheyse Blair – Bilambil Jets / Melbourne Storm5. Brian Kelly – Ballina Seagulls / Manly Warringah Sea Eagles6. Cody Walker – Casino Cougars / South Sydney Rabbitohs7. Tyrone Roberts – Ballina Seagulls / West Newcastle / Gold Coast Titans8. Dale Finucane – Bega Roosters / Melbourne Storm9. Damien Cook – Helensburgh Tigers / South Sydney Rabbitohs10. Paul Vaughan – Gungahlin Bulls / St George Illawarra Dragons11. Mitch Aubusson (c) – Ballina Seagulls / Sydney Roosters12. Kyle Turner – Coonabarabran Unicorns / South Sydney Rabbitohs13. Jack De Belin – Cootamundra Bulldogs / St George Illawarra Dragons14. Connor Watson – Kincumber Colts / Sydney Roosters15. Matt Prior – Thirroul Butchers / Cronulla Sharks16. Tariq Sims – Gerringong Lions / St George Illawarra Dragons17. Adam Elliott – Tathra Sea Eagles / Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs18. Daniel Alvaro – Mittagong Lions / Parramatta EelsCoach: Craig Fitzgibbon – Dapto Canaries