Sharks back rower Kurt Capewell travelled to far North Queensland last week, joining a host of other NRL and WNRL stars in visiting regional areas across the country as a part of the NRL’s Road to Regions tour.
The visits were a part of the NRL’s annual road trip, providing an opportunity for players to meet some of their biggest fans throughout regional and rural parts of Australia just a few weeks before the Premiership season is set to commence in March.
Capewell, Knights forward Aiden Guerra and NRLW player Tahlulah Tillett were assigned to the far North Queensland region, more specifically to the towns of Malanda and Atherton, where they spread some rugby league goodwill during the three-day tour.
The delegation spent time at a number of schools at Malanda on day one, in Atherton on the Thursday and the Yungbarrah State School on the final day before boarding a flight in Cairns and heading home last Friday.
The players, along with NRL Community and Game Development staff focussed on cyber bullying in addressing schools throughout Malanda, at Tolga and Ravenshoe State Schools, St Joseph’s Catholic College and St Therese’s Ravenshoe, before delivering a State of Mind session at Mount Saint Bernard’s College later in the evening.
Junior League coaching clinics were also conducted at Malanda on both the Wednesday and Thursday.
While Capewell and his crew visited far North Queensland, Cronulla’s women’s team members Ruan Sims and Corban McGregor, along with Coen Hess, Ali Brigginshaw, Dale Finucane, Isabelle Kelly and Tim Mannah were some of the other male and female rugby league players who took to the road and reached out to more than 60 regional towns across Queensland and New South Wales.
In addition to Malanda and Atherton, included in the areas visited by the NRL roadshow were Charters Towers, Roma, Biloela and Monto in Queensland, Armidale, Griffith, Leeton, Grafton, Yamba, Coolah, Dunedoo and Wellington in regional NSW.
NRL Head of Government and Community Relations, Jaymes Boland-Rudder said the Road to Regions tour provided the players and the game the opportunity to promote positive education and wellbeing messages amongst the communities.
“The Road to Regions tour is a fantastic way for our players to say thank you to local communities for their support of rugby league, as well as a chance to impart important education messages around respect, positive mental wellbeing and empowering one another,” Boland-Rudder said.
As part of the tour, the NRL and its player representatives also delivered its State of Mind grassroots program, with more than 95 junior rugby league clubs having taken part in the program last year.
The program has been developed alongside expert health partners (Kids Helpline, headspace, Lifeline and Black Dog Institute) in the mental wellbeing space and is designed to increase mental health literacy and reduce the stigma around mental illness.
The NRL Road to Regions tours was proudly supported by the New South Wales and Queensland Governments.