Community Carnival

The St George Illawarra Dragons will be visiting schools, local junior league clubs and communities stretching from Eden on New South Wales' South Coast to Sydney suburbs such as Arncliffe as part of the NRL Community Carnival.

The Dragons will join the 15 other clubs to embark on a month-long series of visits throughout Australia and New Zealand in February, meeting with fans in more than 80 communities and educating students on respect and diversity.

Now in its 17th year, the NRL Community Carnival is supported by every NRL club and NRL Ambassadors, and will reach more than 250,000 kids, visit more than 1,000 schools, travel more than 40,000 kilometres and host more than 80 Junior Rugby League clinics throughout Australia and New Zealand.

St George Illawarra Dragons players and staff will be joined by NRL Game Development Officers in delivering the NRL Respect program to local students, with lessons including interactive activities, together with educational resources.

The Dragons will take part in local junior rugby league clinics, as well as participate in education lessons with students, focusing on the importance of respect, belonging and celebrating differences both on and off the field.

The NRL Respect program is linked to the Australia and New Zealand curriculum. Every school will receive an interactive presentation, which is supported by a six-week teaching resource focusing on respect, belonging and celebrating differences.

"The Community Carnival is a great initiative and I am really looking forward to heading back to my home region," Dragons centre and Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs junior Euan Aitken said.

"We were all young aspiring NRL players once so the opportunity to meet the kids and promote the game and the other important positive lifestyle messages is a great experience for everyone involved."

Dragons Community Manager Paul Everill believes the Community Carnival is a big boost for rugby league fans in the club's catchment areas.

"The Community Carnival is a great opportunity for us to visit other parts of our region and being the pre-season we have the ability to take our full squad out into these areas and it is something the players really enjoy," Everill said.

"It is a great opportunity for the players and fans to interact and for us to promote important and positive life messages."

NRL General Manager of Community, Ellen Beale said the NRL Community Carnival was a chance for NRL clubs and players to meet with some of their regional and rural fans and help promote important and positive life messages.

“The NRL Community Carnival is our biggest community program of the year and one of the most rewarding,” Ms Beale said.

"In the space of just over a month on the road, our 16 NRL clubs will reach more than a quarter of a million primary and secondary students from across Australia and New Zealand.

"They will impart life-long lessons about the importance of showing respect for both themselves and others within their diverse footy and local communities."

Dragons' fans will have the opportunity to meet the playing squad at Black Beach Reserve, Kiama on Monday afternoon at the Community Fan Day.

Starting at 3:45pm and ending at 5:15pm, the Community day will include activities like player signings, photo booths and play media conferences with the players themselves.

A full list of NRL Community Carnival events can be found here.