The Newcastle Knights kick-started the NRL Community Carnival on Wednesday visiting more than 1,200 school children in the upper Hunter.
Adam Clydsdale, Pat Vaivai Tyler Randell and Brock Lamb spread plenty of smiles as well as this year’s Community Carnival theme, healthy lifestyles and wellbeing at Muswellbrook South Public School, St James Primary School and Aberdeen Public School.
The theme focuses primarily on the areas of physical fitness, nutrition and positive relationships, and is supported by a mental wellness message.
One of the messages spoken about by the Knights at schools in the Hunter is that regular physical activity and nutrition are both key contributors to ensuring mental wellness.
2015 marks the 15th year of Rugby League’s Community Carnival, a month long tour where players from across the game visit literally hundreds of communities across Australia and New Zealand discussing important social messages.
This week's Community Carnival visits saw 21-year-old Knight Adam Clydsdale venture back to the area where he grew up.
"It's awesome to come back here to my local area, I get a lot out of it," Clydsdale said.
"It's also good to deliver the message of having a healthy lifestyle and paying attention to the choices they make.
"We encouraged them to play some sport and get out there with their friends and enjoy it."
Meanwhile, Pat Vaivai was a big hit at Muswellbrook South Primary School.
"We have been out here talking to the kids about how important it is to be haelthy and be active," Vaivai said.
"It's good to come to a regional area because many of these kids don't get the chance to come to a Knights game."
Chris Brennan, Game Development Manager with the NRL, accompanied the players to the local schools and witnessed a phenomenal response from the students when the players visited their schools.
"It's great to have local players such as Adam Clydsdale here," Brennan said.
"It's been a really good day and a great start to the Community Carnival."
Officially getting underway on February 2 and continuing until February 27, the Community Carnival sees every club in the NRL take part demonstating the extraordinary reach of Rugby League.
Over the course of Community Carnival, NRL players will visit 250,000 children, 900 schools and 300 towns.
The Knights are set to continue the celebration by visiting thousands more school children at schools throughout the Hunter.