The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have visited a record 65 schools in the Parramatta region, to spread the NRL One Community’s #tacklebullying message to more than 22,000 children in our area.
Joined by the NSW Education Minister, the Hon. Adrian Piccoli, Jarryd Hayne, Ben Smith, Daniel Alvaro, Toby Evans and Pauli Pauli kicked the day off at Westmead Public School.
“It’s a great message about getting involved, reporting bullying where you see it at school, intervening when it’s safe and appropriate to do so, and [to not] be a bystander to bullying,” Mr Piccoli said.
The entire playing squad has been split into groups, with each visiting a handful of schools across the day, dedicated to the #tacklebullying message.
“The work that the Parramatta Eels are doing is fantastic, because they are role models for young people,” Mr Piccoli said.
“At a school like Westmead where a lot of them are Parramatta fans, a lot of them listen to what they have to say; so it’s great to have these players taking time out from their own training and the work that they do to spread this critical message.”
Parramatta’s co-captain Jarryd Hayne says he’s proud to be part of the record-setting blitz, with the Eels seeing more students in one day than any other NRL club.
“It’s awesome - usually we do it in dribs and drabs, but to visit 65 schools and over 22,000 kids is great,” Hayne said.
“I remember when I was a kid and seeing NRL players, it was a buzz, so for me to do that for the young kids is a privilege.”
Extending as far north as Ironbark Ridge Public in Rouse Hill and south as Mount Pritchard Public School, the Eels covered a range spanning more than 30 kilometres to playing their part in ending bullying in schools.
“It’s fantastic - it’s everything we are as a club, to get out here and into our community, visiting the schools and kids is a promoting a really strong message as a club and for our community, it’s great,” Parramatta Eels CEO, Scott Seward said.
The school blitz today continues the work done in communities in Alice Springs, where the Eels played their first trial game a fortnight ago.
But for Hayne, nothing’s quite like heading to a school at home.
“It’s always good to be around the local schools here in Parra, we’re their favourite team, so it always makes you feel good!” Hayne laughed.