SPORTS VIPs: Preston Campbell and Petero Civoniceva played football with local children at the Goonellabah Sport and Recreation Centre.
SPORTS VIPs: Preston Campbell and Petero Civoniceva played football with local children at the Goonellabah Sport and Recreation Centre. Cathy Adams

NRL greats offer tips to kids at Goonellabah development day

RETIRED National Rugby League players Petero Civoniceva and Preston Campbell were pushed to the limit in Goonellabah yesterday.

The pair hosted an NRL development day in conjunction with Ngunya Jarjum Aboriginal and Child Family Network organisation.

The four-hour session was all about participating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

"It's a great way to get together with the kids from the Ngunya Jarjum group and have a bit of fun," Civoniceva said. "We teach them some rugby league skills and mix that in with some fun games. It's all about keeping active with a healthy lifestyle and having a go."

About 40 kids attended with some coming from as far as Grafton and Tweed Heads. Civoniceva works fulltime with the NRL as a community engagement officer. He travels throughout Queensland and northern NSW running programs.

The main ones focus on anti-bullying and healthy lifestyle choices.

"It's not just about rugby league, we obviously have some pretty important issues to talk about," Civoniceva said. "I've retired from professional football and to have a role where I can engage with kids in different communities is something I thoroughly enjoy."

Campbell has enjoyed his time working with the Titans and NRL since he retired in 2011.

"I don't like to call it a job because I really enjoy doing it," he said. "I'm more on the educational side of things now trying to encourage kids to stay in school and do their best. I played (NRL) rugby league for 14 years and I still have the fire in the belly to come out and have a run around with all the kids.

"It doesn't matter to me whether the kids are indigenous or not, I just want to see them stay active and become good people."



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