Some of rugby league’s greatest players will be bringing a serious message with them when they arrive in Mount Isa next month.
While a number of events will take place on the Thursday and Friday before the May 18 International Legends of League match, including a corporate day, bowls and a pre-match dinner, organiser Craig Teevan hopes school visits will have the most impact.
“We go into schools and we talk to the students about serious issues like bullying and promoting our motto of ‘dream, believe, achieve’,” Teevan said.
“These messages are a really big focus of our visits and we know that bullying is a big issue in society, so if we can use our (players’) profile to stamp it out a bit, then that’s great.
“So we talk to the students (about bullying and promoting an anti-bullying message), but also about how important it is to believe in yourself and, if you do, opportunities can flow.”
Teevan said there was something special about seeing how rugby league fans embraced ex-players they had only previously seen on TV.
“There is no bigger thrill for us than to see how supporters relish the opportunity to see these former greats in the flesh,” he said.
“I’m really because you normally get a pretty good feel about how a game is shaping up and the momentum ahead of this one in Mount Isa has been very good.”
In an era when it seems that every second story in ruby league is about controversy in the NRL, Teevan believes events like the Mount Isa legends match act as a reminder of what the sport can contribute in a positive way.
“Quite often after these games, the players will stay on the field for 45 minutes signing autographs and having photos taken (and that has a really positive impact),” he said.
“There is an enormous amount of goodwill involved in something like this and anything that might temper any negative controversy surrounding rugby league is worthwhile.”