NRL chief in Cherbourg to watch Ipswich Jets play
NRL CEO David Smith will be on hand to watch the historic Intrust Super Cup clash between the Ipswich Jets and Souths-Logan in Cherbourg tomorrow.
Smith has a hectic schedule but Jets chairman Steve Johnson said when he heard what the two clubs were doing with the Indigenous community in Cherbourg he was determined to make sure he could be there to see it first hand.
The clash is expected to attract a crowd of 4000, but is more than just a game of football with valuable programs in the spheres of Indigenous health, education and career opportunities being run by Deadly Choices, Australian Defence Force, Queensland Police and Barambah Regional Medical Service.
Johnson said it showed Smith's passion for the grass roots of the game and outstanding leadership coming from the top of the NRL.
"As soon as David Smith heard of this event his PA rang me and said there was no way he was going to miss it, even though it is in the middle of Origin," Johnson said. "He has booked a plane for the first flight out of Sydney to come to it.
"It is a powerful statement being made by David on behalf of the NRL. It shows they do care about Indigenous issues and is a sign of respect by David for the contribution of Indigenous people to rugby league. For Indigenous people, rugby league is a source of great pride because of the excitement their players bring to the game. You think of great players like Greg Inglis and Johnathan Thurston. They are the X factor in rugby league."
Smith said the Cherbourg event was "a great opportunity to see some of our best Indigenous players in action" but more importantly was a tribute to the great work the Jets and Souths-Logan were doing in helping the local community.
"Rugby league is a community sport which helps to improve the lives of people and bring communities together," Smith said. "Country rugby league is such an important part of our game and the Cherbourg event showcases everything good about our game."