NSW Blues star Josh Addo-Carr says the NRL should look to replicate a Townsville-based, club-affiliated program for Indigenous kids in his home state NSW.
Amid a time-consuming schedule ahead of State of Origin I, Addo-Carr stepped away to visit NRL Cowboys House, a Townsville accommodation for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and came away highly impressed.
Vision provided by the NRL showed kids having a race with arguably the fastest man in league, while teammate Latrell Mitchell played basketball, displaying his hops and dunking.
Joined by coach Brad Fittler and Jack Wighton, the Indigenous NRL stars were warmly welcomed by the students.
The foundation provides accommodation and support for young Indigenous kids across Queensland.
It assists them in accessing education and by providing accommodation stability and support to students who may be forced to move away for better opportunities.
“They’ve got something special there – you can see how hard they’re working and studying and that just feels like a family environment,” Addo-Carr told AAP.
“They’re all from remote communities around Queensland and I think we need something like that down in New South Wales because I know what it’s like moving away from home and not being around your own people.
“Seeing the young Indigenous kids with all their smiles… I was probably more happy than them.”
The home houses 55 young Indigenous men at the boys campus, with a girls campus housing 30 young women.
Both Townsville-based facilities provide culturally-respectful environments and Addo-Carr added it was great to see the young kids relishing in the foundation.
“I had an awesome time there,” he said.
“They’re such good kids and you can see the hard work they putting in.”
North Queensland flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was made the 2021 player ambassador for the aptly-named community foundation with club legend Jonathan Thurston also a supporter.