St Marys Rugby League Club returns from humanitarian trip to Fiji

Sport is only a small part of St Marys Rugby League Club’s annual Fiji trip.

For the Saints’ under-13s division one side, it’s become a right of passage.

About 88 players, officials and family members spent eight days in the Pacific Island nation this month, in what was both a once-in-a-lifetime trip and a humanitarian mission.

“Football is part of it, but we want to offer an opportunity for kids who don’t get the chance for a trip like this,” football manager Adam Przybyla said.

The club was carrying some added baggage on the flight. Picture: Supplied

The club was carrying some added baggage on the flight. Picture: Supplied

“It’s a huge highlight for the boys who play for our football club.”

This month’s trip was the 18th edition of the journey started by club president Warren Smith.

Players and their loved ones had their trips paid for them through a year of fundraising by the club.

But Mr Przybyla said the tour wasn’t an average holiday, with the club handing out more than 1.4 tonnes of gear and supplies to locals. 

“We provide a lot of resources,” he said. “Things like jerseys, boots, balls, and even books, toys and pet food.

“We also really work hard with Fiji Rugby League to help grow the game in that country.

“The boys played against their [Lautoka] under-14s side, and we also sponsor a club there.”

Visits to schools and villages also offer a reality check for the group.

“You get to see how simple they live. Kids here whinge about WiFi, but these people have no beds, no furniture,” Mr Przybyla said.

“It helps you appreciate what we have back here, not just the kids but the adults too. I think we all need that at times.

“When you hand a kid a footy and see the smile on their face, that’s priceless.”

Mr Przybyla said Mr Smith stayed behind in Fiji to do some scouting for next year’s trip, which he expected to be the biggest yet.

“There’s talk of a masters game next year,” he said.