Some of Australia’s best sporting talent come from remote and rural areas. Sadly these stars have to leave their hometowns to pursue their dreams and whilst many would like to, it’s hard for them to get back.

We know how important technology is in giving Australians new experiences, especially those in rural areas, so we thought we could help.

We worked to harness the power of our network to connect some of Australia’s most admired athletes with the clubs, schools and centres of their past to help them ‘Inspire the Next’ generation.

Using some amazing technology we brought players back to their roots virtually, into their old clubs where they worked to recruit, coach and inspire kids by stepping them through skills they could take back to their team mates and coaches.

We know that’s pretty special but sometimes the real thing can’t be beat, so we sent players back home as a surprise to the kids so they could show off just how much they’d learnt.

Here’s how it played out.

AFL – Josh Kennedy

As a young kid coming through I never really got the chance to see players or connect with them, I could always watch them on TV but it’s not quite the same. I grew up in North Hampton, about 500kms north of Perth. Footy in rural communities is massive and it’s something that I think holds a lot of towns together so to be able to give back is pretty cool and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the power of technology Telstra has these days.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to get involved, I think it’s something about being able to give back to the rural communities who miss out on some of the things that happen in major cities. The best thing is being able to connect back with the kids in my home town, it’s been a pretty cool journey.

NRL – Bevan French

The Tingha Tigers was my junior club, it’s a pretty rural, small community. All we did when I was growing up was play footy or look for swimming holes.

Obviously I can’t be in two places at once so being able to be at the Parramatta Eels HQ and home in Tingha at the same time was awesome.

Being able to come back and do this stuff with kids from country towns means a lot to me and if it inspires just one person out of this whole program, gives them a little extra drive and determination, then I’m pretty happy.