NRL legend Brad Fittler was in the region this week to promote junior registration in rugby league as the state continues to recover from long COVID-19 lockdowns.
Fittler was joined by former NRL great Boyd Cordner and NSW women's State of Origin coach Kylie Hilder on the tour that included a stop in Bombala on Friday, December 3.
"We're expecting a big influx of junior registrations, so this is a good opportunity for kids to get out and see what footy is all about," Fittler told ACM.
"It's about putting the toe in the water and getting into footy again, and being part of a team and community.
"We get around (to regional towns), give all the kids a footy to kick around, and hopefully add something to their day.
"It's just as important to get the parents involved as well - getting everyone back involved in their communities and team sport."
The crew - which also involves NRL legends Nathan Hindmarsh and Steve Menzies, and former NRL referee Gavin Badger - is travelling all over the state as part of the tour, including stops in Bombala, Wagga, and Griffith.
"We've just come out of Tathra, and we'll stop in Bombala, Wagga, Griffith, go through the Snowy Mountains, then head north through Gulgong and Mudgee, head over through the Hunter Valley and back into Sydney," Fittler said.
"We usually do both north and south, but it changed this year due to COVID."
Fittler played 336 games of NRL, 31 games of State of Origin, and 38 internationals during his 15-year career with the Penrith Panthers and Sydney Roosters.
Now a coach at Origin level, Fittler encouraged young players to use simple tricks he tells his Origin players if they want to be successful in rugby league.
"If you think there's a future, it's all about working hard and making sacrifices," he said.
"It starts with the real basics. Get the little things right like managing your breathing, getting your diet right, drinking as much water as you can, sleeping, getting off your phone, and talking is really important.
"These are things we teach our NRL guys to do in State of Origin games - they cost nothing to practice, they're just real basic human skills, and if you practice them you can handle any occasion and anything that's thrown at you."
Fittler also has plenty of great things to say about the South Coast and the players from the region.
"I have a lot of family living down on the South Coast, and I spend a bit of time in Sussex Inlet," he said.
"I'm a big fan of the South Coast, I really love coming down here - the people just have a really special way about them.
"Whether it's Dale Finucane, Kezie Apps, or Mick Weyman, they all have this wonderful team mentality where they put other people first, and that's consistent with the people from the area.
"We've done this program for 10 years, and we'll keep coming down here more and more because we see the value in the attitude they bring to teams and games."
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