Tiger tales aplenty for Elizabeth Macarthur students

Students got to meet top-shelf NRL players and familiarise themselves with wheelchair rugby league on a special day at Elizabeth Macarthur High School.

Image: Elizabeth Macarthur students try out wheelchair rugby league.

Elizabeth Macarthur students got to rub shoulders with some high sporting achievers and First Nations students from the famed Clontarf Academy in a recent visit to the high school.

On a day organised by The Wests Tigers Foundation/Clontarf Foundation in partnership with Wheelchair Rugby League, students participated in various activities led by former NRL great Brett Kimmorley, as well as current players Luke Garner, James Tamou and Luciano Leilua.

Learning about the rules of wheelchair rugby league, the students were introduced to an inclusive sport that provides the opportunity for athletes with disabilities to compete with and against able-bodied people.

The West Tigers players led students through various drills and sporting games to get the hang of using a wheelchair through friendly competition.

During their visit, the Tigers players also held a press conference while on school grounds. It had come at a fascinating time for the club with added media interest after they’d opted to replace their coach midway through the season.

With that came a unique opportunity for students: seeing players interviewed for the Channel 9 broadcast and other media. Students were able to shadow the setting up of media equipment and learn how players prepare to answer interview questions.

Image: Tigers players address Elizabeth Macarthur High School students.

It gave them an insight into some of the requirements of professional athletes away from the field.

“That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to see the behind-the-scenes of athletes. On behalf of all of the students that were able to participate, we are incredibly grateful for the players to have taken the time out of their really busy schedules to meet and play with us,” student Zeke Roberts said.

The day also presented a good opportunity for students to speak to some of their contemporaries at The Clontarf Foundation, a not-for-profit group set up to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

Clontarf Foundation director Eronny Mareko was full of praise for the Tigers players who gave up their time midway through a tricky part of the season for the club.

“The players were extremely personable and highlighted the importance that inclusivity plays in sport,” Mr Mareko said.

“It was fantastic for students to see the expectations that athletes have on them beyond the field. It really encouraged students that no matter what success you achieve, it is so important to give back to the community”.

Image: Luciano Leilua signs an autograph.
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