Fresh off the back of a trip to the Gold Coast, Dyldam Parramatta Eels centre Beau Champion is preparing to run out on the field for the first time since early 2014.
Champion joined the Indigenous All Stars in the Gold Coast over the weekend for the NRL Indigenous Players Leadership camp, before joining his teammates to travel to Alice Springs.
"It's a great experience to mix in with the other indigenous boys, and it was also really well run by the NRL, headed by Dean Widders."
"It’s great that we can all get together in one place and dissuss the issues. The indigenous boys are very passionate about the work they do in the community and the role they play, being role models for indigenous kids."
The Eels' second annual pre-season trip this year sees Champion named to start at centre against the Wests Tigers, and the return to the field has been a long time coming.
"I haven’t played probably since Round 4 last year," Champion said.
"Parra has really given me an opportunity and I really want to take it with both hands. I’m thankful for that opportunity."
"I’ve worked hard in the pre-season so hopefully I can put in a really good performance on Friday."
It also marks Champion's first visit to Alice Springs.
"I've always wanted to come to Alice Springs," Champion said.
"We don’t get to see Uluru this time, but I’d definitely make another trip up here, and I definitely need to pack some sunscreen!"
The Eels' pre-season trial kicks off at 7.40pm Friday night (local time) at ANZAC Oval in Alice Springs. Click through to see the team list!