A three day trip to Central Queensland last week opened the eyes of Manly Sea Eagles forward Frank Winterstein to the difficult challenges locals are facing there daily.
Winterstein visited Roma and the surrounding districts as part of the annual ‘Road to Regions’ tour alongside Sydney Roosters player Simaima Taufa and NRL Women’s player, Ali Brigginshaw
The NRL event provided an opportunity for players to meet fans from regional and rural parts of the country in between delivering positive education and wellbeing messages amongst communities.
Winterstein was proud to represent the Sea Eagles and helped deliver the NRL’s State of Mind grassroots program. The program has been developed alongside expert health partners (Kids Helpline, headspace, Lifeline, and Black Dog Institute) in the mental wellbeing space and is designed to increase mental health literacy and reduce the stigma around mental illness.
The back-rower flew out of Sydney early last Monday for promotions across Central Queensland before arriving back home on Wednesday afternoon. He then backed up for Sea Eagles training on Thursday and Friday.
“Roma was a cool little town. Everyone in the town was very friendly and the kids were just happy to have us there,’’ Winterstein said.
“The people there are facing some very tough times due to the drought. On Tuesday morning, we were on our way to a promotion and saw all of these cows walking alongside the main road for a good kilometre.
“Our driver told us the farmers do that because there is just no grass in their paddocks, so they let them loose on the side of the road to eat weeds and the little grass they have next to the bitumen.
“It makes you realise the life you lead, and enjoy, in Sydney. I loved my time up in Central Queensland meeting the people.
"The kids had so much energy despite the temperature being around 35 degrees.
And as for how he went in turning any kids into Manly supporters, Winterstein said that was the easy part of the trip.
“We have got plenty of Sea Eagles supporters now in Central Queensland because we were the only club that took souvenirs to hand out,’’ he said.
“They loved the hats, stickers, and key rings. The fact our colours were part maroon made it even better.”
Winterstein continued his good work in the community over the weekend when he attended the NRL Pacific Players Leadership Camp in Manly.