The Parramatta Eels have arrived in Alice Springs, Northern Territory for a few days to spread the NRL Community Carnival message before their pre-season trial game against the Gold Coast Titans at ANZAC Oval on Saturday 11 February.
Returning to Eels Territory is always a welcome one for Gower, and the forward was honoured to be involved with spreading the positive message.
“It’s always good to come back, twice a year we are here and Alice Springs this time, it’s always good to come back see the young kids out here in Alice,” Gower said.
“The major message we are trying to give the kids this year is respect and belonging. Belonging to a team, belonging to family and that sort of line or sort and it’s great to see, especially in the younger kids, that if we can teach them a bit about respect it goes a long way in providing a good platform for them moving forward.”
“It’s phenomenal some of the work they do,” Gower added.
“ I was struggling to comprehend just how big some of the properties the kids are from. There is a family we met and they are on 1 million acres, it’s phenomenal, we saw it on a map and it’s unbelievable. It’s a great initiative that I had no idea about and it’s a great way for kids to still get access to quality education.”
Turning his focus to the football field, despite playing in the 2017 Downer NRL Auckland Nines last week, Gower said that himself, along with the rest of the team, still had plenty to gain from the trial game this weekend.
“The summer is long and hot especially in Parramatta, and the boys were starting to get a little bit edgy. There was a little bit of intensity creeping into training, and for a lot of the boys, it’s good to finally hit something that isn’t your own teammate,” Gower said.
“For me I was fortunate to play last week in Auckland, but now we are all here in Alice, we are ready to play, ready to rip in, and put into practice what we have been doing all summer.”
“An opportunity for match fitness, combinations and putting their hand up ahead of the season but most importantly its getting that timing back and actually hitting guys for real, taking the hit ups and getting used to the bruises and bumps you are going to cop each week.” Gower added.
“There are a lot of positions up for grabs and it’s a very competitive squad we have here, a great amount of depth and personally lm looking forward to really ripping in again and put my best foot forward.”