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Rugby's greats are closing the gap

Tuesday, 11th August, 2009

Rugby League players in the region will learn from some of the game's past and present greats this week during a visit by David Peachey, Mario Fenech, Nate Myles and Braith Anasta.

The foursome is in the region as part of the build up to the NRL's 'Close The Gap' round, which aims at raising awareness about the disparity in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

The visit is also part of the Rugby League's One Community "Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well" campaign, which uses the profile of the NRL players to get a positive health message to young people. "An important part of our Close the Gap round is being involved in communities where we can help make a difference," NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said. "Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well is all about teaching kids and families the importance of eating the right foods and living a healthy lifestyle and you only have to look at Indigenous life expectancy statistics to see why it's so important to take those messages to Indigenous communities. "Indigenous Australians currently live more than 10 years less than non-Indigenous Australians and we want to help close that gap." Current Sydney Roosters players Myles and Anasta will join past greats Peachey (Cronulla, South Sydney) and Fenech (South Sydney, North Sydney) in spreading the good health message this week during training sessions at Willyama, Broken Hill High, Alma School, Menindee and Wilcannia.

The group visited Menindee yesterday and worked with young players, discussing everything from skills to nutrition as part of the Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well program. "It was a great day, the kids were beautiful, it was really good to be out there," he said. "There's a lot of talent out here, the aboriginal kids are just so talented and suitable for our game. "The boys - Braith and Nate - were great as well, we talked with the kids about education. That's one thing we really wanted to impress on kids - the importance of education. "I really enjoyed it, it's the type of thing that really makes you feel good." Local Outback Rugby League Development Officer Ken Kennedy said the NRL stars' visit was a welcome publicity boost for the sport, and a great experience for local youngsters. "It's fantastic from the Outback Rugby League's point of view to get this support from One Community," he said. "To have these four guys out here with their high profile, it's great for the game, especially leading up to our local grand finals this weekend." The players will head to Wilcannia for a workshop today, followed by sessions at Willyama, Broken Hill High and Alma schools on Wednesday.

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