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GALLERY: NRLW stars join rebel Rookies in Newcastle

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There were smiles aplenty and a ton of fun when the rebel Rookies program kicked off at Harker Oval on Monday.

Not only did almost 300 kids learn league, Aussie rules and football skills during the session, but they met some of the biggest stars in those respective sports, too.

NRLW icon Isabelle Kelly, Newcastle Knights trio Yasmin Clydsdale, Hannah Southwell and Caitlan Johnston, Newcastle Jets legend Jason Hoffman and ex-Dally M winner Matt Orford were on hand to put the youngsters through their paces.

“The rebel Rookies is travelling throughout regional NSW at the moment,” a spokesperson said.

“We’re also heading to Nowra, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Ballina; however, this is our first time in Newcastle.

“It’s great to see so many children, between the ages of seven and 12, enjoying themselves and being taught some drills in league, AFL and soccer.

“The program’s designed to inspire young boys and girls to get involved with those sports.

“It also gives them the opportunity to try the three separate winter codes all in one day, with specialist-run clinics and exciting VIP guest appearances.

“That’s why we’re delighted to have Isabelle, Yasmin, Hannah, Caitlan and Jason here [today].”

Orford, who represented the Northern Eagles (2000), Melbourne Storm (2001-2005) and Manly Sea Eagles (2006-09), helps run the league aspect of the initiative.

So, the kids are in good hands.

The gifted playmaker won the 2008 NRL premiership, captaining the Sea Eagles, the same year he was crowned the best and fairest player in the game.

“Hopefully, days like this inspire the next generation of sporting stars,” the Erina junior told the Newcastle Weekly.

“The Hunter boasts an incredible talent pool, not only in league but also AFL and football.

“Who knows, the rebel Rookies might kick-start the region’s next superstar’s journey.”

rebel Rookies at Harker Oval. Photos: Rod Thompson

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