The nib Newcastle Knights are proudly involved with the NRL's School to Work Program, providing young Indigenous Australians with work experience, mentoring and leadership opportunities.
The initiative ensures high school students successfully complete their HSC and transition into either further study, training or full-time employment.
The local School to Work Program students were at Knights training on Monday, getting involved in this week's Indigenous Round.
The kids from local high schools were at training to present rugby league balls the had painted to the players.
"The balls were painted with special Indigenous designs and then given to players to sign before they are kicked out to the crowd after the game against the Penrith Panthers on Friday," said Knights Indigenous project officer Joey Griffiths.
"It makes them feel part of the round and the week, and it's great to be able to interact with the players."
Griffiths explained that the NRL's Indigenous Round is a massive occasion for the School to Work program, which works with a number of NRL clubs.
"For the Knights to jump on board and for the players to give up their time to meet and greet with the students, they got a big kick out of it," he said.
"For our students to participate in the game day activities and to turn up to support the guys, knowing they have contributed to the game, is a special moment."
17 players signed individual rugby league balls on Monday, while additional balls have been painted for the Club by Uncle Bill Smith, who is set to give the welcome to country on Friday and also coach Nathan Brown.
Griffiths explained the program has been a great initiative for local students, which continues to be successful in helping them reach their potential.
"The majority of students doing it now have picked up some part time work through the program," Griffiths added.
"Opportunities we present to them can be through employment or training opportunities but anything and everything they aspire to do, we help every student to do.
The program is a combined initiative of NRL clubs, including the Knights, the Australian Government's Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the National Rugby League.
It utilises the positive profile of the game of rugby league to support and encourage Indigenous Australians to stay in school, get a job and be a legend for themselves, their families and their communities.