Students across Mackay are getting ready for some special classroom visits with the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys making their way to town for a leg of the 15th annual NRL Community Carnival on Friday.

The day before their NRL pre-season trial against the Brisbane Broncos, the Cowboys will spread out across the region to visit around 2,000 students in 20 schools.

The school students will get to hear from NRL regulars Ben Hannant, Justin O’Neill, Ray Thompson, Robert Lui, Glenn Hall and Tautau Moga, as well as a host of the club’s rising stars.

Community Carnival sees players from each of the 16 NRL clubs visit local and regional communities across Australia and New Zealand throughout February.

The community message of this year’s event is “wellbeing”, focusing on everything from nutrition and healthy eating, to regular exercise and mental health.

“This is a particularly special Community Carnival as we celebrate 15 years of the program,” said Adam Check, Head of NRL Community.

“Community Carnival has made a tremendous contribution over the years on important societal issues such as bullying and social inclusion.

“The program has demonstrated that the game, and our ambassadors and players, can impart positive messages that students and young people will observe.

“The message players will take into schools this year is a simple but important one – taking care of your diet, physical fitness and mental health is vital to your overall wellbeing.”

Over the four weeks of Community Carnival (2 February-27 February), NRL players are expected to reach a staggering 250,000 kids across 300 towns and 900 schools, and deliver 80 junior league clinics.

Players will be armed with teaching resources acknowledged by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), which demonstrate how important nutrition, physical activity and mental health is to overall wellbeing.

Main image: Students at Finch Hatton State School with the Cowboys development team this week