AURUKUN kids were able to put their hands on this year’s NRL and NRLW premiership trophies last week as Cape York rugby league royalty rolled into town.
The visit by former Cowboys star Matt Bowen was part of the NRL Telstra Footy Country Tour, which will travel around the state and end in NSW prior to the NRL grand final.
It’s hoped the tours will help increase rugby league participation in regional areas and inspire the next generation of footy stars.
Bowen, a Telstra Footy Country Tour ambassador, said that he felt lucky to be part of a tour to inspire regional NRL lovers.
“Growing up in Hope Vale, I didn’t get to see NRL players or former NRL players in the flesh and it was always on TV,” he said.
“To have the opportunity to play NRL and now be able to give back to the community…I’m very fortunate to be on this job and do the sort of stuff I love and care about.”
Telstra Group executive Dean Salter said the tour would give regional kids access to star players, elite coaching clinics, digital coding workshops, resiliency talks and health and wellbeing sessions to develop skills not only for the sport but outside of it.
“It’s about ensuring that we can encourage kids to engage in sport, engage in NRL and also to create a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging and link to the community,” he said.