Life has thrown some curve balls to 2020 Ken Stephen Medal nominee Kyle Feldt this year, but he hasn't let a pandemic or the NRL isolation bubble stand between him and the Good Shepherd Catholic School community.
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboy has built a strong connection with Good Shepherd over eight years of Adopt-a-School visits, usually visiting each term to join in with students and staff in a variety of school activities, with the support of program partner Adani Australia.
The 88-career try winger has developed a different kind of agility over the years of visits, learning to adapt to the school environment and reinforce the message of the day to become an important member of the Good Shepherd Catholic School community.
Keeping in touch with his school during COVID-19 has been a big priority for Feldt, with video calls in terms 2 and 3 ensuring he can still contribute and be part of their school year.
Good Shepherd Catholic School Principal Glenda Scrase says the school loves the Cowboys but has a very special place in their hearts for Feldt.
"Kyle always goes above and beyond with his time when he visits and makes each of our students feel special when he talks to them," she said.
"He plays games and shares his footy skills with the students, and they still talk about his handball challenge to this day.
"We greatly appreciate the time and effort Kyle takes with our Good Shepherd Catholic School community."
Adopt-a-School Q&A: Kyle Feldt
As his 132-game on-field career continues to develop, Feldt has also become a role model for the club's Try for 5! school attendance challenge, motivating and rewarding students to come to school on time, every day.
The program targets school attendance in 18 schools across Townsville and Far North Queensland, with Feldt filming messages of encouragement for schools to play in classrooms and assemblies.
His involvement reinforces positive school cultures and also communicates high expectations of attendance, where poor school attendance has been linked to lower academic outcomes, early school leaving, substance abuse, poverty, unemployment and negative health outcomes.
Cowboys Chief Community & Government Relations Officer Fiona Pelling says Feldt's down-to-earth nature makes him a favourite with school communities.
"Feldty is one of our quiet achievers for the Cowboys community team," she said.
"He is diligent in his preparation for visits and is always looking to make the most impact or contribution he can.
"He's a laid-back North Queenslander and is great at striking up a conversation and learning about people because he's also a good listener.
"His heart beats for the region and I have no doubt we've only just begun to see the best of Kyle Feldt."