The Parramatta Eels have put plenty of smiles on faces during their annual 2021 school blitz.
The squad visited 23 schools and more than 700 students across the Parramatta District this week, playing some footy and boosting confidence amongst students.
One of the groups including Ray Stone, Ryan Matterson, Reed Mahoney, Isaiah Papali’I and Tasi James visited Toongabbie Public School, where they met the support students.
The players ran a skills and drills clinic with the students, encouraging junior participation in Rugby League.
Eels forward Ray Stone said the players get just as much out of the school visits as the students do.
“It’s good seeing kids get out, being active, hopefully enjoying themselves and it looks like they are,” Stone said.
“It’s definitely rewarding seeing smiles on their faces,” he said.
Toongabbie’s Assistant Principal Sue Burnett said the children had been looking forward to the visit for some time.
“It’s a great opportunity for our students to meet the Eels players, as well as having fun, and developing their fundamental rugby league skills,” Ms Burnett said.
“It’s very exciting for them.
“They’ve been looking forward to it all week and it’s a great opportunity for them to meet the players and it’s just a really fun way for them to interact with the players and develop their skills,” she said.
Toongabbie has 21 students in support classes, ranging from Kindergarten to Year Six.
“We are a multi-categorical support unit. Students have a range of additional needs and all our students are actually boys. They’ve been with us for a long time so it’s really nice for them to get these opportunities,” Ms Burnett said.
The Parramatta Eels squad also visited Toongabbie East PS, Lalor Park PS, St Anthony’s Girraween, Westmead Christian Grammar School, Caddies Creek PS, Parklea PS, OLA Kellyville, Seven Hills West PS, Kings Langley, Sherwood Grange PS, William Stimson PS, Carramar PS, OLOR Fairfield, Fairvale PS, Merrylands PS, Hilltop Road PS, Granville South, Holy Trinity Granville, Maronite College of Holy Family, Granville South, Christ the King Primary North Rocks and St Monica’s Primary.