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In Santa Teresa, an 85-kilometre hike from Alicia Springs, Parramatta Eels star Bevan French was challenged to a footrace that was captured by the club's digital content manager, Benjamin Cuevas, and later recognised as one of the finalists of the 'Australian Life 2018' photography competition.

As part of the club's partnership with the Northern Territory government, in the 2018 pre-season the Eels squad travelled to Alice Springs for a training camp where they visited a number of remote communities.

Eels backs Josh Hoffman, Will Smith and Nathan Davis accompanied French on the trip and watched on as the kids of Santa Teresa sprinted across the red dirt with Parramatta's fastest player.

With around 2,500 submissions to the competition, the Eels photographer was selected as one of 22 finalists, with his "French Flies in Santa Teresa" shot showcased at the Australian Life 2018 exhibition at Hyde Park North in Sydney, running from September 13 to October 7.

"I was speechless but very excited when I found out that I was one of the finalist in the competition," Ben said.

"I'm just lucky that I get to combine my passion of photography and rugby league.

"It's a really powerful image and I wanted to share it. I felt like it met the criteria of what they were looking for and personally I feel there's nothing that says Australia more the nation's first people and rugby league."

Benjamin Cuevas takes a snap ahead of an Eels v Panthers clash.
Benjamin Cuevas takes a snap ahead of an Eels v Panthers clash. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Ben, who's been with the Eels since the end of 2014, said as soon as he came across Sydney's annual photography competition he was eager to share the memorable shot.

"I remember it was at the end of our visit with the Santa Teresa kids and they were challenging Bevan to a footrace - I decided to run out into the middle, where I knew they were going to run past me, and I just started snapping away," Ben said.

"It was a cool experience in itself when the kids ran past me and just seeing all of the smiles on their faces, then it wasn't until I looked down at my camera that I actually seen just how good the shot was.

"When I saw the 'Australian Life' competition pop up on my Facebook feed the shot of Bevan running with the kids was the first photo that come to mind."

French, who grew up in Inverell in Northern NSW, said he's grateful he has the opportunity to visit those communities.

"For me personally Ben capturing this photo was something special, especially considering I also grew up in a remote community and got to witness first-hand the positive impact it has on the communities when NRL players come out and give their time," Bevan said.

"I'm grateful as a proud Aboriginal man that I now have the privilege to be able to do that and give back to the community in any way that I can.

"It was a great trip to Santa Teresa and one I won't forget - I feel this photo sums up the trip perfectly."

Get more details about the exhibition here.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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