Andrew Ryan has done just about everything you can do as rugby league player.
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NRL star, premiership winner, State of Origin player and Australian representative.
But the man known as 'Bobcat' knows none of it would have been possible without his time at St John's.
The Dubbo star was back home this week as part of the NSW Rugby League Regional Roadshow and spoke to students at St John's College on Thursday.
"It's awesome," the former Canterbury Bulldogs captain said of returning.
"I actually really enjoyed (my time here). I'm still good mates with heaps of people we went to school with here.
"I've got real fond memories of the place and we've obviously moved away and I don't have kids in the area but my parents still live here and I had great times here."
Being back around Dubbo also brought back memories of Ryan's junior league days, when he was a St John's junior who could only dream of the type of career he went on to have.
After graduating from the St John's nursery, Ryan went on to make 291 appearances during spells with the Parramatta Eels and the Bulldogs.
The back-rower also played 12 times for the NSW Origin side, represented Country on six occasions, and played 11 Tests for Australia.
"If it wasn't for St John's, the school and the junior footy, I wouldn't have got to where I did. It was amazing," Ryan said.
The Regional Roadshow is run in conjunction with Transport for NSW so road safety was a major topic during the western tour this week, but Ryan and fellow NSW stars Brett Kimmorley and Kylie Hilder also spoke about things like goal-setting, which is a useful tool for young people both on and off the field.
"It's huge," Ryan said of the messages' importance.
"A lot of our messages are around regional areas and growing up and not giving up on those dreams and not feeling like you're out of sight and out of mind.
"That's some of the key messages we're talking about."
These days Ryan is more well known in footy coaching circles.
Living in Newcastle with his family, he's helped turn around the fortunes of the Souths club and led the first grade side to a place in the grand final this year.
He's also the coach of the NSW Under 19s Origin side and has helped secure back-to-back wins over Queensland the past two years.
"It's a really special thing to be involved in, getting those guys who are pretty much training in the NRL and on the cusp of long-term NRL careers," he said.
"It's unreal to spend some time with them and just see their passion to play for New South Wales as well."
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