NRL Melbourne Storm players Cooper Cronk (centre), Jesse Bromwich, Sika Manu, Matt Duffie, Justin O’Neill and Dane Nielsen visited Karalee State School yesterday.
NRL Melbourne Storm players Cooper Cronk (centre), Jesse Bromwich, Sika Manu, Matt Duffie, Justin O’Neill and Dane Nielsen visited Karalee State School yesterday. Claudia Baxter

Storm visit Karalee students

FORGET about paparazzi, the Melbourne Storm’s visiting stars had a hard-enough time fielding questions from a hall full of hyped-up school children at Karalee yesterday.

On the way to a warm-up game again the Brisbane Broncos at Redcliffe tonight, State of Origin halfback Cooper Cronk and team-mates Sika Manu, Justin O’Neill, Matt Duffie, Jesse Bromwich and Dane Nielsen made the most of a rest day to visit students across Ipswich, including those at Karalee State School.

But before getting out onto the school oval, where they ran students through a few footy drills, the burly Storm boys dropped in on the Friday assembly, where they faced some fierce scrutiny from young fans.

Hard-hitting questions like: “Why isn’t Billy Slater here?” “How much do you get paid?” and “Why do you wear purple shirts?” had the elite sportsmen scratching their heads.

Students at St Edmund’s College and Ipswich East State School were also part of the small tour, which aimed to bring smiles to the faces of kids who had been hit by last month’s floods.

At the end of the day, a busload of junior rugby league players who were affected by the floods accompanied the Storm players to Redcliffe for a pre-match training session.

Mackay-raised centre Nielsen said the players were glad to help on their day off from a tough pre-season.

“It’s a sad experience for all those kids that were involved with the floods, so the boys have got no dramas getting involved in days like this,” he said.

“I jumped at the chance to do it because I know all about the Queensland spirit.”

Cronk, who grew up in the Sunnybank area, said it was important to come back and be a part of the community.



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