The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, this week hosted a number of indigenous students at Belmore Sports Ground, in partnership with the Clontarf Foundation based in Taree.
This community organisation strives to improve the education and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, with close to 9000 boys taking part in the program nationwide.
Bulldogs, General Manager of Community, Fayssal Sari, and Wellbeing Manager Luke Goodwin, opened the visit with a brief introduction outlining the NRL club's history and heritage, while also providing background on the Welfare Department at the Belmore based club.
Goodwin, a former first grader for the Bulldogs, described his transition into finding a role in administration at the club:
"Being a former player, I was quite lucky to play here and now to be back working here in the wellbeing space. We spoke to the students about what the details of a wellbeing plan are, and what the players have in place to help them on and off the field.
We also spoke about having a Plan B and how important it is to be engaged in some type of study in work away from football."
GM – Community, Fayssal Sari added: “This visit is part of our overall plan to give these students the opportunity to visit Belmore and learn about what happens off the field at a big sporting club like the Bulldogs. We wanted them to leave here having had a great day and, hopefully, with some information that will help them plan their next steps.”
The visit continued with a tour of the club's training facilities, where the students were able to meet their indigenous heroes in Josh Addo-Carr and Brent Naden.
Clontarf Foundation and Chatham Academy Director, Jeremy Long, said it was a rewarding trip for the pupils who had recently completed their secondary schooling.
"All the boys within our academies look up to these fellas. They've achieved well, they're playing at the highest level of rugby league. A lot of our young men also have the same aspirations to maybe one day play in the NRL.
I think the boys are going to be motivated, and really get the aspiration in seeing people like Naden and Addo-Carr. Just that inspiration in how they've made it. They've come from a similar area, similar circles to our boys and the way they've succeeded in their walk of life. It will be really aspirational for our boys."