By Mary Maidiotis

The St George Illawarra Dragons Community department joined forces with the NRL Development team to deliver one of the state’s biggest school rugby league events this week.

The 73rd Annual South Coast Illawarra All Schools Carnival was conducted over three days across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

A total of 119 teams featuring 1550 players from 51 different schools participated in both secondary and primary school carnivals.

In recent years, the NRL has seen more Dragons juniors play first-grade than any other club, reiterating the importance of such an event.

Dragons Community Manager Paul Everill emphasised the significance of the event in shaping young players and developing future NRL stars.

“The All Schools Carnival is one of our biggest events on the calendar,” said Everill.

“Many of our current NRL squad have been part of this special event, having fond memories representing their local schools.

“The event emphasises the importance of fair play and sportsmanship which our schools proudly display and take carriage of.”

The winners will now progress to the NSW All Schools Finals, representing the Illawarra and South Coast in St Marys, Penrith in August.