NRL's rural battleground
FORMER Maroon David Shillington will be heading to Gympie as a guest for the Men of League Foundation Gympie Committee kick off club.
As the game competes with the changing times, Shillington said regional areas were a battleground for the NRL.
"The NRL can't ignore these areas, like Gympie. It is always a battle for regional clubs to get the attention and resources they need,” he said.
"Some of Queensland's greatest players come from towns outside Brisbane and a small amount are from the city.”
Historically, sporting clubs have provided the social fabric for people.
"They are family clubs. If you have been there for a while, they remember you. It is more than just a place to play footy,” he said.
"Since retiring and working in regional areas, you see how much these communities love the sport and how small towns make a name for themselves because of the players. Like Innisfail and Billy Slater.”
Heading to Gympie for the first time, Shillington said he was looking forward to the event.
"I'm excited to get up there and to get out and meet some people,” he said.
The Foundation protects and enhances lives of ex-players, administrators, referees, club volunteers, men, women and children.
"It is not a fundraiser but more a social engagement with people reminiscing of the game,” he said.
"I will speak from the angle of a former player. Bringing awareness to what the foundation does to help the rugby league community and who needs support.”
Event will be on April 24 at 6.30pm at Railway Hotel Gympie.