Rugby stars promote Deadly Blues campaign
Saturday, 22nd May, 2021
By Emily Ferguson
Former Rugby League stars; Nathan Blacklock, Willie Mason and Reni Maitua were in Broken Hill last week helping to promote the Deadly Blues campaign.
The footballers visited both Broken Hill and Willyama High Schools to interact and play rugby with the students. While they were here, they also attended the Outback Rugby Leagues games being played in Menindee and Wilcannia.
In 2019, the Deadly Blues campaign was launched to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to talk to their local GP and get their 715 health check. Deadly Blues is part of the collaboration of NSW Rugby League and Deadly Choices to encourage regular medical check-ups to improve health.
All individuals who get their 715 health check through Maari Ma will, as part of the campaign, receive a free Deadly Blues shirt.
Tarissa Stakes, Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Practitioner Youth Health Worker said the Deadly Blues program aims to target chronic disease, nutrition, physical activity and smoking which can have a negative impact on Indigenous communities.
“The partnership is a powerful combination for good offering young people a clear pathway to healthy choices as well as a sense of belonging and achievement. It’s about working and playing together for the future of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“So it’s all about the health promotion...Deadly Choices are the ones that make up the shirts and stuff, they use Indigenous artists to help design the shirts and they do them for all the football teams, not just the State of Origin. They also do Indigenous shirts that we have here that we’ll give away as part of the health checks such as Parramatta Eels, AFL and NRL. They also have shirts for netball, like Firebirds shirts.”
Tarissa said it was great for the high school students and local community members and kids to have influential figures come to visit.
“It’s also a way of having famous footballers come out into rural and remote towns when they usually don’t see those sort of people. And to promote that, even though they’re from a little town like Menindee or Wilcannia, or wherever, that if they train hard, eat well and all that sort of stuff, then they can go to that next level as well.
“It was amazing to have them at the schools...Lots of the students play AFL and NRL anyway. A lot of the girls got involved at Willyama as well.
“It’s inspiring for the kids to have their sports heroes come and be on their level, have a game and have a talk and answer any questions that they have.”