Physically speaking, they may be the odd couple of rugby league. But shared passions for the game and improving the lives of the people in their community have brought Preston Campbell and Mal Meninga together as powerful forces for change in rugby league.
Meninga had no hesitation in agreeing to be one of the guest speakers at the Preston Campbell Foundation’s Icons For Change Breakfast at the Sofitel Broadbeach on February 21, joining fellow Queensland greats Greg Inglis and Steve Renouf – as well as players from the current All-Stars squad.
Meninga, rugby league’s 13th Immortal who has enjoyed one of the game’s greatest and most successful careers as a player and coach, says his respect for the diminutive Campbell was sky-high during his playing career with the Gold Coast, Cronulla and Penrith.
But Meninga said the results Campbell was delivering in his post-football career with the Preston Campbell Foundation had taken that respect to a new level.
“Anyone that has had anything to do with Preston knows what a special human being he is,” Meninga said. “Yes, he did a lot of things in his career that a lot of people don’t get to experience – like winning a premiership and winning the Dally M Medal.
“But it is the legacy he is creating for the game, his people and his community that is really the most inspirational part of his career.
“It is fitting that this year, the 10th year of the All-Stars game, that it is coming home to the Gold Coast where Preston came up with the idea.
“Preston joined the Titans in 2007 because of his connection to the community that gave him his first opportunity in the NRL, and he has never stopped trying to repay that favour.
“The work he does with the Preston Campbell Foundation is amazing, and genuinely changes the lives of other people. There cannot be any greater impact than that.”
Meninga said it was because of Campbell’s selfless support of the community that so many were quick to support him in his work.
“The Icons For Change Breakfast will be a great event, and I am proud to be a part of it – to support Preston and the work he is doing with the Preston Campbell Foundation,” Meninga said.
“I have always been an admirer of Preston, but since coming to the Titans, I have been able to witness firsthand the incredible love and respect that the Club and the community have for him.
“Being asked to speak at this breakfast, on a topic and for an organization so close to Preston was an easy choice to make, and I hope all rugby league fans – especially those on the Gold Coast – will join me in supporting this wonderful event.”
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