Life changing – that’s what the New South Wales Rugby League’s upcoming under-16s Indigenous Development tour to Europe is being branded by those who understand its true impact better than most.
The tour takes non-elite players from across NSW, from places as small and remote as Bourke and Collarenebri, to France and Italy – and today they got hands-on rugby league training from some of the best in the NRL ahead of the trip later this year.
A total of 12 members of the touring party received invaluable tuition at a session run by Rabbitohs high-performance manager Troy Thomson at Redfern Oval. With extra presence and helping hands from Bunnies NRL squad members including Chris Grevsmuhl and Issac Luke, as well as an interested onlooker in Anthony “the Man” Mundine, the under-16s Indigenous Tour playing group certainly got an eye-opening insight into the world of rugby league.
Their upcoming trip, though, is as much about social and cultural learnings as it is about the greatest game of all.
The tour is self-funded, with monetary support and resources provided by the New South Wales Rugby League and KARI Aboriginal Resources Incorporated.
All participants must have an 80 per cent attendance record at school for the past 12 months – and they will visit a number of historically significant locations on the trip including battlefields of the Somme, focusing on the Indigenous involvement in the World Wars.
The touring party will also attend a reception at the Australian Embassy in Paris, as well as act as guests of the Mayor of Villers Bretonneux for the laying of the wreaths on Armistice Day.
Those who wish to support the NSWRL’s 2015 under-16s Indigenous Development Tour of Europe can do so by getting in touch with Steve Hall at the New South Wales Rugby League. Details here. The best way to follow the boys’ trip is via www.nswrl.com.au