THE smiles on their faces said it all.
A small gesture has made a significant impact on young league stars across Port Macquarie-Hastings who today (August 31) received a new pair of boots from NRL legend Phil Sigsworth.
The former NSW Blue and Australian Kangaroo presented the gift to players from junior clubs across the region impacted by the 2019 summer bushfires.
Sigsworth says there's nothing better than making a difference in the lives of future champions.
The boots were made possible by a NSW Rugby League bushfire relief package.
Juniors from the Port Macquarie Sharks, Port City Breakers and the Lake Cathie Raiders were the recipients.
Sigsworth has provided his mentoring and expertise to the Port Macquarie Sharks' first grade side since retiring to the region two years ago. More recently, he has provided a helping hand for the U16s Sharks and U14s Breakers on the training field.
Sigsworth, a Canterbury-Bankstown great, famously was sent off in the 1986 grand final against the Parramatta Eels - the only tryless grand final in the game's history.
He played with Newtown at the start of his league career and within four years had a place on the NSW State of Origin squad. He played for Manly, Canterbury-Bankstown and the Balmain Tigers before his retirement and is the recipient of a Dally M medal.
"I remember a a kid the players I looked up to - this is a big thing. If I can give back what I got when I was young that's a great feeling," Sigsworth said.
"The bushfires had a huge impact on people - these kids would have been thinking will I have my dog tomorrow, will my friends be here tomorrow, will I have a house?
"This is a ray of sunshine after a tough time.
"I remember getting my first new pair of footy boots as a kid - I felt so special. I thought I'd be able to run faster than Bob Fulton they were that good."