Manly Warringah Sea Eagles stars Jake and Tom Trbojevic will spend this weekend in Armidale as part of a NSW Blues Origin camp.
A chance encounter with NSW State of Origin players and legendary coach Wayne Bennett as a young child at a rugby league clinic has inspired Blues coach Brad Fittler to establish the Origin camp at the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale.
The Trbojevic brothers will be a part of a 21-man squad for the visit on the weekend of 19-20 January that will see members of the team that claimed the Origin Shield in 2018 stage a coaching clinic for 200 children, meet the Vice-Chancellor of UNE, and learn breathing techniques from a sports expert.
Fittler said Armidale held a special place in his heart after being selected to participate in a camp there as a junior which included clinics involving Bennett, former NSW coach Tommy Raudonikis and former winning Blues captain-coach Wayne Pearce.
"One of my great memories as a kid is going to the Armidale camp," Fittler said.
"I remember seeing some great coaches there and a crop of the great players. I remember the great Wayne Bennett was there teaching NSW kids how to play.
"I don't know how many kids were there but it felt like there were thousands.
"I was only a kid but it made me feel important seeing all the stars there."
Fittler said he was keen to turn the Armidale camp into an annual event to ensure country kids were exposed to the NSW State of Origin team.
"While I'm coach, I'll be there every year with the team," Fittler said.
"If you're a country kid and you want to meet the NSW team, Armidale is going to be the place to be."
NSW Blues squad: Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm), Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Penrith Panthers), Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters), Nic Cotric (Canberra Raiders), Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters), Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons), Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans), Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters), David Klemmer (Newcastle Knights), James Maloney (Penrith Panthers), Latrell Mitchell (Sydney Roosters), Tyrone Peachey (Gold Coast Titans), Matt Prior (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), James Roberts (Brisbane Broncos), James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters), Jake Trbojevic, (Manly Sea Eagles), Tom Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles), Tariq Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons), Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons)