Queensland Maroons legends Billy Slater and Petero Civoniceva visited drought-stricken Ilfracombe, east of Longreach in western Queensland, over the weekend as part of an event to lift the morale and spirits of rural Queenslanders hit hard by drought.
The event was organised by the Ilfracombe and District Progress Association, which saw more than 120 local children take part in a footy clinic.
Despite the heat and dusty grounds, children turned up in numbers to play rugby league on bare dirt. The NRL stars also attended a sportsmen dinner.
Slater said he was encouraged to see the turnout but admitted the landscape was parched.
“Obviously it is in need of a bit of water but I think it is more the people, we are out here to see the people and hopefully put a few smiles on faces,” he said.
“I am from north Queensland and we didn’t care if it was 35 degrees, we just wanted to play footy and you can see that in the attitude of the kids out here.”