200 of north-west New South Wales’ best open-aged primary school rugby league players will take part at the annual Ricky Walford Shield at Walgett tomorrow (Wednesday, 5 August).

It's a spectacular one-day festival of 9-a-side football that celebrates sport and community, which is now in its 23rd year. Former NRL player Wes Patten and future stars Bernard Lewis and Dallas Campbell, will also join the Ricky Walford Shield.

Played in conjunction with a girls’ netball tournament (Jenny Wright Memorial Shield), the Ricky Walford Shield is part of a sports spectacular that entertains and engages the community and highlights how sport can help create lasting bonds, with 27 schools participating this year.

Former Dragon and current Indigenous Program Manager at the NSWRL, Walgett-born Walford is incredibly grateful of all the support that has grown since the tournament, named in his honour, was first staged in 1993.

“I’m very thankful of all the support in the community of the north-west region and isolated area of Walgett,” Walford said.

“Everyone, from players, referees, parents, coaches and sponsors, have been supportive of the tournament since its inception.

“It’s great to be able to give kids the opportunity to participate in a great day and meet some of their heroes in person while encouraging community involvement.”

The Ricky Walford Shield is awarded to the day’s winning open primary side, while the George Rose Senior Shield, named after the Dragons star’s father, goes to the side which takes honours in the repechage rounds.