A group of students from Redbank Plains, north-west of the Gold Coast, didn’t have to be asked twice to volunteer for a school excursion to watch the Aquis Gold Coast Titans train today and meet some of their heroes.
Beforehand they had the chance, rare for some, to head to the beach and enjoy the cool surf on a hot first day of summer.
Then it was to Bond Pirates’ ground, just behind Burleigh Bears, where they were put through a skills and mentoring session by Titans NYC coach Ben Woolf and elite player development unit manager Jamie McCormack.
They waited expectantly for the NRL players to arrive and watched them go through their paces during a skills and contact session.
However, the visit was more than stargazing at their heroes and meeting the likes of Greg Bird and newcomers David Shillington, Zeb Taia and Tyrone Roberts but a reward for the year 7 and 8 students for their efforts in 2015.
“We see it very valuable for their benefit it is easy,” said Redbank Plains teacher Michael Armstrong. “It’s one thing for us as teachers to tell them about life but it’s a completely different perspective when it’s coming from people who have been there and done that.
“It’s not just about what these guys have done on the football field but about being a good human too being and that’s what we are pushing - being a role model and a better person.
“With a high Polynesian representation and culture at the school the Polynesian role models are important, with our boys seeing them succeed and working hard for that success.
“For them to see first-hand a tough training session and meet some of the players is a great opportunity; some of our boys were over the moon.”
Woolf and McCormack have had several visits to the school where they have run their eye over talented players and assisted the league program where they can. A successful gala day was run by the school and the Titans earlier this season.
“We like to support with league program where we can and play a part in helping identify off-field role models for their young players too,” McCormack said.
“Today was a reward for years 7 and 8 boys who have trained well during the year. To do a session with us and then stay behind and watch how it is done at the highest level really opened their eyes.
“Sometimes you take for granted how NRL players are role models and just a brief moment with our players with some of these boys is a great memory for them.”
PICTURED: Zeb Taia, Tyrone Roberts and Greg Bird with the Redbank Plains students before training today.