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On day one of the pre-season camp down south in Coffs Harbour the entire NRL squad made a surprise visit to The Rivers Secondary College Richmond River High Campus in Lismore.

After a tough month due to bushfires and extreme heat, the squad helped put a smile on their faces and passing on a number of messages to keep them motivated through a tough period.

Forward Ryan James is from a regional area himself and also gets a lot out of visits like this one.

“It’s always good to give back,” he said.

“I’m from a regional area myself and I’ve come out to this area a fair bit.

“Played here a lot when I was a junior and it’s good to come and see all of the kids.

“(My message) would be to stick at it. There are plenty of kids from the Northern Rivers who have made it in the NRL.

“There is Group 1 and Group 18 up the road that form the Northern Rivers and there is now that definite pathway through to the Titans.”  

Centre Brian Kelly is a proud Indigenous man and is well aware what a visit like this would mean to the people of Lismore.

“I’m a Bundjalung boy, I’m from only half an hour away in Ballina,” he said.

“Coming out here to see the schools and community is great. Especially after the tough last few weeks because of the fires.

“Sport communities bring people together (during tough times) so to come down here and spend some time with the kids is rewarding.”