As Dyldam Parramatta Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne returned to training this week, he joined teammate and Territory boy Luke Kelly to videoconference with a group of young rugby league players at the Northern Territory Institute of Sport.
The conference was a first for the Eels, and Hayne says he hopes the ongoing partnership between the Eels and the Northern Territory Government will help inspire more young footy players in the Territory.
"As you get older you start to realise you can influence the younger generation just by speaking to people and taking time out to discuss what it was like when I was growing up," Hayne said.
"It's obviously huge for 'Kels' [Luke Kelly] to be playing in the NRL, coming from the Northern Territory."
"His determination and his motivation paid off and now he’s a part of one of the biggest clubs in the NRL, and hopefully we can see a couple more kids coming to the NRL."
"We’re going up there twice this year and I think it’s going to be great for the game and the club and for the Northern Territory."
Eels halfback Luke Kelly says he's excited to prove to young Territory footballers that making the NRL is achievable.
"Playing my early junior footy was always in Katherine, but when I got to the under 18s sort of level we used to travel up to Darwin each week, which is a six-hour round trip," Kelly said.
"Probably the biggest thing I'd say is that at the time growing up, rugby league seems a world away coming from the Northern Territory."
"If I can do it coming from Katherine, these kids [can], especially with the opportunities and the partnerships we’ve got with the Eels now."