NRL makes difference with Torres Strait Tour
The NRL is making a difference in grassroots rugby league, with a Torres Strait Islands Tour highlighting the 220 educational courses the NRL Game Development team will run across Australia in April.
Thanks to the support of the Torres Strait Island Regional Council, North Queensland Regional Game Development Manager and former Jillaroo Renae Kunst travelled with QRL FNQ Division Manager, Robbie Moore to five islands in the Torres Strait.
It encouraged all people within communities to take an active lifestyle through educational programs and rugby league clinics, with the central focus being facilitating the growth of female League Tag.
The Women's World Cup-winning co-captain emphasised the importance of these trips and the further support that is needed to deliver these vital messages.
"It's certainly an experience that I'll never forget and I'm so grateful that I was able to experience that,” she said.
"Whilst it is a game of rugby league, it's about so much more and about what we offer. As a game, it's important that we need to be looking for ways to give them as much opportunity and experience as we possibly can.
"It's important for us to be seeking out community partners as a way of continuing the delivery of these experiences to people of the Islands because it is the sport they want to play."
Kunst says it was important for her share her own personal experiences with the women and girls of the communities.
"Sport is such an important vehicle to drive messages and to drive change. Working for the NRL we are an all-inclusive sport and it was important to us to show the people of the island's that we're serious about that and we wanted to make it more of a focus on the female side for once," she said.
"It was important encouraging women and girls to be active in the community and take on a bit of role through helping promote healthy well-being in hopes of giving these women opportunity to play some format of our game, whether it be through a contact or non-contact offering.
"I drew on my own experience on what the game has given me in confidence and team building and that has led to other aspects outside off the football field in having some goals to try and attain and reach.
"However, we still did the kids' clinics, which they loved and some men's training sessions, along with some coaching courses. We made sure we had something for everyone in community."
The Jillaroos forward was able to put the Healthy Lifestyle Officers of each community through a "Coaching and Leaguesafe Courses", and hopes they will now facilitate some small in-house competitions on their own Islands for all families of the community.