Laidley State School students were given a memorable surprise when Queensland Maroons squad member Josh Kerr strolled through the front gates today.
The St George Illawarra Dragons prop, who is staying with family in Redcliffe for the Christmas break, happily made the 135-kilometre trek to the Lockyer Valley to help out with a rugby league clinic.
Kerr said his friend, NRL development officer Alex Gusterson, gave him a bell to ask if he would be keen to help out and he jumped at the chance.
"I said ‘sure thing'... I just love rugby league,” the Redcliffe junior said.
“Alex works for the NRL and goes out to schools all the time to try and recruit kids and teaches kids rugby league… we just ran them through some different drills and a few games.
"We had a few big games of touch footy. All the kids carved me up… it was a lot of good fun. It was a really big touch footy school, so they were pretty skilful.
"We taught them a few different techniques within rugby league… catching, kicking, playing a few games.”
Kerr said being able to give back to the game that had given him so much was “so good”, especially in a place like Laidley, where professional sportspeople were not a regular fixture.
"They don’t really get a whole lot of those sorts of people out there so any chance that I can get out to help and inspire kids… it’s pretty awesome to have that feeling," Kerr said.
“I just remember the effect it had on me as a kid, when I used to see guys come to school from the NRL. I had Sam Thaiday when I was in primary school; him and Corey Parker came out and we had a day when they were there.
"It inspired me to play rugby league. I looked up to those guys.”
The self-confessed “big kid” said his goal was to get as many children playing the game as possible.
“I love rugby league… obviously I’m biased towards it… I’d love to have as many kids playing as possible,” Kerr said.
“I think it’s a good discipline for them to have. It helps teach them to work in teams, they meet life-long friends.
"I just know what it did for me and I’d love to be able to give that to someone else. I’m just doing my best.”
Kerr starts pre-season for the 2021 season with the Dragons on January 4.