Pat McCabe and Colby Faingaa have landed in Alice Springs to spread their rugby knowledge through Central Australia.
Both players have committed to helping out with coaching clinics, signing sessions and community work over the next two days.
Over the last three years University of Canberra Brumbies players have travelled through regional areas of the Territory like Gove, the Tiwi Islands and Jabiru, but this is the first occasion the club has been represented in Alice Springs.
Both Faingaa and McCabe’s first engagements with the Alice Springs community was a session with local juniors at ANZAC Park in the centre of town.
McCabe said community development in such an isolated part of Australia was a pleasure to be involved with.
“It’s a long way out here and from what we’ve been told there’s not a lot of exposure to elite rugby,” McCabe said.
“It’s been great to get out here and show the area a bit of rugby love, it’s something people living in bigger areas sometimes take for granted. For school kids, these are formative sporting years where they pick their favourite players and teams.
“It’s great the Brumbies have been given a chance to come in and make an impact there.”
For Faingaa, a community the size of Alice brings in similarity to his own home town of Queanbeyan, with around 30,000 people occupying both places. The comparisons stop there however, with Alice Springs at least 16 hours drive from Adelaide and 18 from Darwin, somewhat different to the five minutes separating Queanbeyan and Civic.
“It’s very hot, but the people here have been great and very receptive – it’s obvious they love their rugby no matter what the temperature is. When we got off the plane we were told this is the first day since January 11 that the temperature has been under 42, so that’s a bit of a relief,” Faingaa said.
“There are plenty of junior players up here already, but we’d love to see the game grow even more over the next few years. It would be nice to see all those juniors getting around in Brumbies jerseys, but that’s something I can work on at tonight’s clinic.”
2013 has seen junior rugby re-launched in Alice Springs for the first time since 2005, with about 60 junior players now registered.
McCabe and Faingaa will return to Canberra on Wednesday, while the rest of the squad prepares to take on the Western Force this Friday night in Darwin.