Former Rabbitoh and Test star, Matt King, returned to his home-town of Casino yesterday (Thursday) to attend the Matt King Cup – a primary school rugby league competition named in Kings honour.
With the help of Luke Keary and former NRL and Origin player Steve Turner, the trio spent the day watching 12 local primary schools do battle for the title, much to the appreciation of the enthusiastic country kids.
“It’s a really humbling experience,” admitted King.
“We just walk around and watch footy, and the kids will bring everything from their lunch box to their footy boots just for us to sign.”
But for King, returning home is much more than an opportunity to re-trace his roots.
“In some ways I feel it’s a responsibility,” said King.
“When I was a kid here, whenever footy players would show up it was like having Santa Claus come to town, so you don’t forget that feeling easily.
“To have good mates like Luke Keary and Steve Turner come along as well makes the experience even more special.”
It was perhaps fitting that the tournament – now in its fourth year – was won by King’s former school St Mary’s on the day.
But the Casino tour is far from over, with King and his good mates including NRL star Dallas Johnson joining forces today (Friday) to visit Primary schools with special needs students.
The experience will continue into the weekend, with King to attend a Sportsman’s Dinner to help raise money for the Casino Cougars junior rugby league side to help build a change room.
“The junior sides and the seniors have different grounds here at the Cougars,” said King.
“Right now, the junior kids have to change under a tree, so we’d like to raise a bit of money so we can build them a change-room and get them the basics to help them along.
“Cooper Cronk (Kangaroos halfback) is coming up after the Test Match to give us a hand, and Matt Geyer will be there as well.”
The Casino tour will culminate in King strapping on the boots again for the Cougars in a match on Sunday.
To watch a full report on NBN News, please click here.