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Westpac NSW Sky Blues forward Millie Elliott is planning on making her regional ‘Game Changer’ inclusion workshops an annual event following feedback from her recent tour.

During the past three weeks Elliott had over 400 people – those with special needs or school children - take part in two daily sessions across nine regional towns: Bega, Bateman’s Bay, Lake Illawarra, Wagga Wagga, Orange, Dubbo, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Murwillumbah-Tweed Heads.

Elliott was joined at various stages by Origin teammates Kezie Apps, Olivia Kernick, Keeley Davis and Emma Tonegato to help run indoor and outdoor activities aimed at fostering better confidence, choices and lifestyles, but all built around the principles of Rugby League like teamwork, support and communication. 

The workshops were also supported by the NSWRL and Westpac, with every participant taking home a NSW football.

“To an extent there are similar challenges for people with special needs in regional areas as there are for those in the city,” Elliott told

“The biggest difference is that people in the regions don’t have the same amount of support as city-based people. There are very few programs like I do with Trainer Group.”

Elliott founded the Trainer Group Foundation in 2022, a registered not-for-profit organisation, which has allowed her to hold ‘Game Changer’ workshops at various NRL clubs and community centres. This was her first foray into regional NSW.

“These were places where I come from so to be able to go there and help meet the demand was special,” Elliott said.

“People would like it to be an annual thing and I’m trying to make that happen because these people want more, they love Rugby League, they follow it religiously, they know the players.

“Trying to open up ways for them to be part of our game more – for them to be seen and heard just a little but more – is something I’m now working toward.

“That could be with things like helping people play in a team, or organising a Gala Day, giving them more options to come to Sydney to get them closer to the action – just create something for them.”

Elliott wanted to thank her four Sky Blues teammates, who helped deliver the inclusion messages.

“They are in a unique position where they are professional athletes but they are also passionate about working in the disability space. They have a great overall approach in giving back to the community where it’s needed most,” Elliott said.

“I loved them being a part of it and I’m hoping to grow it year on year.”

One of Elliott’s sisters, Hannah, has Down Syndrome and it’s her experiences in trying to make her way in society that inspired the ‘Game Changer’ workshops. Hannah took part in the Bega sessions.

“She loved it and it even helped me to see Hannah in another light – she was out of her comfort zone but she loved being a part of that group environment,” Elliott said.

“I saw that in (disability) workers, carers and family members and the people they were with. They could see those smiles on faces as well.”

The NSWRL is holding its annual Inclusion Gala Day at its Centre of Excellence (COE) in Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday 23 March. 

Click here to register.

(Main photo: courtesy Trainer Group Foundation-Atmosphere Productions)

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