Our NRL heroes: Legends on and off the field

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Tonight it seems like the entire NRL world has forgotten about Robbie Farah and is now talking about Paul Gallen. If you haven’t read the story I encourage you to go elsewhere because I’m not interested in sharing it. And here’s why.

For every story about a player behaving in a poor way, there are at least 50 stories of players behaving in an admirable way and going above and beyond to delight the fans (both young and old), who quite frankly adore them.

In a sport where there is so much focus on negative publicity, we have a responsibility to share the positive stories and make sure that they are told time and time again.

I want to tell another story tonight. Instead of focusing on one negative incident, I want to spend some time talking about the countless NRL players that make me proud to support this superb game week in week out. And believe me, there are so many of them.

About an hour ago, @Ladieswholeague tweeted “for every story about a jerk NRL player, remember the players that make you proud to support our game.” I have been absolutely floored by the amount of people who have responded to me, talking about the players that they have memories with and who have taken the time to make them feel special. I encourage you all to keep sharing.

Tonight, I want to share some of my own personal stories and I hope this will encourage all of you to share yours. Make this the story you share tonight. Make this the story you talk about tonight. Let’s celebrate the players who do the right thing and leave the others by the wayside.

So let’s begin.

I’ve often spoken about my pride at being a Parramatta supporter and in particular, because the Parramatta Eels as a team are generally a team of genuine nice guys. From Big Smiley Ben Smith who always has time for a chat and a cuddle, to Luke Kelly who has never actually met me personally, but always comes over for a chat, to David Gower calling me “his favourite blogger”, to Tim Mannah whose commitment to the community is outstanding, over the years, the Parramatta Eels have brought me tremendous pride.

To the players on Twitter that have supported @Ladieswholeague and respond with genuine kindness, even after I tweet them multiple times (Woodsy, I mean you), you are also excellent examples. Players like Clint Newton, Aaron Woods, Jeff Robson, Michael Gordon and Blake Austin whose Twitter game is so strong – these are players that show how little it takes to interact with their fans and make them feel special.

Then there are those players who I haven’t met, but who I am told stories about. Players like Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Anthony Milford, Michael Ennis, Matt Gillett and Brett Morris. Thank you for all you do for our game.

The final player that I would like to mention is a player that I had pre-conceived notions about because of his behaviour on the field and that was Josh Reynolds. Then I met him and I have never been so impressed with an NRL player in my life.

Josh came to my work at an event we were hosting with young kids. Josh was perfect with them. He did not leave the event until every child had had every photo taken, every piece of merchandise signed and had had every opportunity to chat with him. He was kind, personable and behaved in a way that made me absolutely proud. When I relayed this story to Raelene Castle,  she told me that there is no player she receives more compliments about than him.

These are some of my favourite stories. Can you all share yours now too please?

Love,

Ladies who League xxx