NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fittler has indicated his series-winning squad will return to the region more in the future after hosting a popular clinic in Armidale on Saturday.
Fittler and the 21-man Blues outfit were met by hundreds of enthusiastic juniors and their parents at the University of New England.
Participants from as far as Moree and Narrabri visited for the clinic and Fittler hoped the players were humbled and understood the important of the sport in the bush.
“I can’t speak for the players but it is important they get out here and see,” he said.
“We have flown in, it is a little bit dry.
“A lot of these blokes don’t leave Sydney or don’t leave their club or where they’re from.
“The key was to see how excited these kids are, and the parents.
“They go to a lot of these, they do a lot of autographs, they do a lot of clinics so it will be interesting to see what they take out of the energy these kids brought to today.”
He plans to bring the players back as he vies for consecutive Origin trophy wins.
“They are putting a lot of energy into rugby league, UNE, so it is the least we can do really,” he said.
“We hope to grow on this in the future.
“When I was younger it used to be a three and four day camp so hopefully in the future we can turn it into something bigger than it was today but it was a great start.
“While I am coaching, we will keep coming back.
“I have got the job for another two years and hopefully that extends if we keep winning.”
Junior players of all ages and abilities from across the region were present and the Blues players were impressed with the talent on display.
“The kids are outside most of the time out in the bush, I believe, a lot of kids in Sydney sit inside,” Fittler said.
“There was some pretty good skill shown out there.”