South Sydney's time in Dubbo started with a bang after the club visited several schools on Tuesday in the lead up to Sunday's match at Apex Oval.
The clubs' community arm Souths Cares arrived in Dubbo on Tuesday and visited several schools including Dubbo Public School.
Current Souths Cares mentor and former NRL star Rhys Wesser is one of the club's former players who has transitioned into a role with the club, focusing on educating children about the importance of mental health.
"We love coming out here with Souths Cares and the South Sydney Rabbitohs loving bringing football out to the community of Dubbo," he said.
"It's great to be here preparing for our game but also giving back to the community."
The Souths Cares program aims to support disadvantaged and marginalised youth as well as their families while also building programs addressing education, health and employment needs.
Like last year, the South Cares team will be in town all week and will be running rugby league based drills as well as educating children on some important life lessons.
Wesser said the schools they have been to already have been really impressive to deal with.
"(We are) doing some drills and different programs around mental health as well as healthy relationships," he said.
"The kids are really loving it, they are loving engaging with us and us with them.
"Hopefully they are learning a few skills and some other stuff as well."
With the organisation leading into Sunday's game, Wesser admitted the Souths Cares team will see a lot of children and hopes they enjoy the opportunity to learn from people other than their teachers for an hour or so.
"Close to 4000 kids we hope to get out to," he said.
The kids are really loving it, they are loving engaging with us and us with them.- Rhys Wesser
"The key message is around mental health and that stigma.
"Around healthy relationships as well and allowing them to have a good time out on the field."
Wesser along with former Souths player Yileen Gordon were on hand last year when South Cares visited Dubbo in the lead-up to the 2021 NRL game between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Penrith Panthers.
The former Souths fullback admitted a few kids had remembered him but not from his playing days with the club and the Panthers.
"A lot of the kids came up and said they recognised me from last time," he said.
"It's good to build that connection with Dubbo."
Wesser played 219 games in the NRL with 41 of those being at South Sydney while the rest were for the Panthers while also representing Queensland on four occasions and making a sole appearance for the Indigenous All-Stars in 2008.
The Rabbitohs NRL squad will be in town, later on, this week in the lead up to Sunday's game with an hour-long captain's run being held at Apex Oval on Saturday morning.
Tickets for Sunday's match are still on sale via 123Tix or the Rabbitohs website.
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