Cowboys, Dragons, Pride in school blitz

Friday 15 February 2013

Cowboys, Dragons, Pride in school blitz

Northern Pride, through the Take Pride Program, have begun a fortnight of school visits promoting junior rugby league across Far North Queensland.

The annual Schools Blitz sees Pride players visit more than 100 schools and 28,000 students in the region, stretching from Cardwell in the south, west to Mount Garnet and Chillagoe, and north to Alexandra Bay in the Daintree.

This year, North Queensland Cowboys and St. George Illawarra Dragons NRL stars will also join the Pride for the school visits, as part of the build-up to their trial match at Barlow Park this Saturday.

Former Queensland State of Origin and North Queensland Cowboys legend Ty Williams, also the current Pride captain, is among the Pride players visiting local schoolchildren.

“The visits are aimed to coincide with junior rugby league sign-ons across the region to further increase participation rates for the greatest game of all,” said Take Pride Program Manager Chey Bird.

“The players will be holding rugby league clinics, but they will also be highlighting other important everyday activities for children, such as good nutrition, reading programs and supporting school attendance.

“It’s a real thrill for the kids to meet the players, and they love visiting the schools and putting some smiles on faces, as well as delivering important messages.

“It should be a great time for everyone involved before the new season kicks off.”

The school visits are held each year in partnership with Queensland Rugby League and the Australian Rugby League Commission.

“It’s a great program to be able to deliver to the region, and we’re thankful to everyone involved for making it happen,” said Pride Chief Executive Officer Chris Sheppard, who played for both the Cowboys and Dragons during his decorated NRL career.

“It’s also great to have the Cowboys and Dragons on board this year. To able to get the Dragons up here early on a training camp, and have the Cowboys also help with the blitz, is a great coup for the region.”

Northern Pride’s first pre-season trial will take place tomorrow as a curtain-raiser to the NRL trial between the Cowboys and Dragons, when they take on the Cowboys Under 20s side.

The Pride’s first Intrust Super Cup match of the season is a blockbuster North Queensland derby against the Mackay Cutters on 16 March, also at Barlow Park.