Club stalwart and 2001 Dally M Player of the Year, Preston Campbell returned to his former NRL club today, as the Cronulla Sharks announced a partnership with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health's (IUIH) Deadly Choices preventative health program.
As a Deadly Choices Ambassador, Campbell has been instrumental in assisting to bring about better health and educational outcomes among Indigenous communities in Australia; a formula which the Sharks will now implement to boost existing and future community programs within its Sharks Have Heart portfolio.
"The Deadly Choices – Cronulla Sharks partnership will help reinforce those positive mental and physical health outcomes among communities, through the promotion of healthy eating, active participation in sport, and emphasising the importance of a good education," said Campbell.
"Sharing the good word among community around positive health, both physically and mentally, is something I believe in and feel privileged to be a part of through Deadly Choices.
"When you have kids at such an impressionable age it's important to direct plenty of positive messaging and ensuring they create good habits for themselves.
"I've had a chance to speak with the boys today about the Deadly Choices programs and they're excited about the impact they'll have on our young kids"
"It's all positive, making a difference in communities and providing a chance to give back."
As explained by Sharks Have Heart General Manager George Nour, empowering youth within communities is exactly what the Sharks intend to achieve through the Deadly Choices partnership.
"Sharks Have Heart are extremely proud to launch our partnership with Deadly Choices," Nour said. "To be associated with such a strong and respected brand within the Indigenous community is only going to strengthen our programmes within our diversity pillar."
At today's launch, the Sharks were provided a snapshot of what it means to make Deadly Choices and be role models for community, with Campbell joined by fellow long-term Deadly Choices Ambassador and former league international Steve Renouf in discussing their roles.
Sharks Co-Captain Wade Graham, a member of the Australian World Cup squad last year and twice an Indigenous All Star in 2016 and 2017, was joined by Indigenous teammates Andrew Fifita, Jesse Ramien and Edrick Lee at the program launch.
Graham was excited by the Sharks new partnership and to be teaming up with Deadly Choices.
"I think staying fit is extremely important in this day and age, particularly for the youth and if the Sharks and Deadly Choices can encourage as many people as possible to get the body moving, to eat healthy and to have an active lifestyle, it is going to be extremely beneficial to the Indigenous community," Graham said.
"I am looking forward to working with Deadly Choices who do outstanding work in the Indigenous community and to be helping to spread their important messages," he added.
In 2016-17 in South East Queensland alone, the Deadly Choices team delivered 145 education programs to more than 1860 participants. The team also held 10 community and sporting events, with almost 1500 attendees and participants.
"This partnership will bring life-changing benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples right across Australia," said IUIH CEO Adrian Carson.
"The Sharks players will assist in educating youth about the importance of taking a preventative approach to their health, and living healthy lifestyles. This includes reducing the negative impacts of smoking and drinking alcohol, and advocating consistent attendance at school.
"It provides the kids a chance to make positive decisions around being a deadly student. It's about our young ones looking at the opportunities available, with education being the passport towards achieving their dreams."