MOUNT Isa-born Scott Prince returned to his hometown for the second time this year to help launch the newly formed Gidgee Healing Deadly Choices and Brisbane Broncos partnership.
The former Australian Kangaroos rugby league player has continued as a Deadly Choices ambassador, a role that has enabled Prince to help promote healthy lifestyle decisions.
“It’s all about healthy lifestyle and raising awareness about some of the challenges that we face,” Prince said.
“It’s especially in our community concerning things like smoking, alcohol and making the right choices in terms of our diet.”
The 35-year-old was at Sunset State School last Friday with Health Minister Cameron Dick and Brisbane Broncos chairman Dennis Watts, who both formally confirmed the partnership between Gidgee Healing and the Brisbane Broncos.
While Deadly Choices has been operating for some years, the Palaszczuk government has committed to funding $300,000 annually for the next years to expand into areas such as Mount Isa.
“It’s great to see it expanding into real communities,” Prince said.
“The connection here is that it’s my hometown where I grew up. To be approached, be an ambassador, and work alongside not only the Deadly Choices program but the Gidgee Healing services too is unbelievable.”
The ex-Mount Isa Town rugby league player moved from the outback to Townsville at the end of Grade 10 to join up with the North Queensland Cowboys development squad, but hasn’t forgotten where it all started.
“It’s great to see junior footy is going well, especially from a Sunset State School point of view. I was also school captain in Grade 7.”
It is reminders such as scenes of kids playing footy at his former primary school that Prince relishes coming home to.
“It’s always good coming back (to Mount Isa). I try and get back at least once a year. I love it. My grandmother is here and my cousins too. It’s a bit of a breath of fresh air coming back.”
“It sort of makes you appreciate where you live and life in general. A lot of people live life out here without the materialistic stuff you’ll find on the coast.”
Since his retirement at the close of 2013 National Rugby League season, the Gold Coast resident admits he still has moments where he wished his playing boots were still on.
“Last year I missed it (playing rugby league). You have thoughts both physically and mentally saying ‘jeez I can still play at that level’”
But the Indigenous Australian has now found a new challenge that he hopes to pursue sooner rather than later.
“I’ve gone back into touch football. I played touch footy as a kid so I’m grateful that I could play my league career and come through unscathed despite having metal in an arm and a leg.”
Prince said discussions had opened up with Queensland Touch Football Association with the ex-Queensland Origin star anticipating a possible ambassador role or similar position.
The former Clive Churchill medallist is also actively involved with the Former Origin Greats’ Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education program based in Brisbane.
“It’s a school centre-based program to do with school attendance, school behaviour and results driven. It’s named after rugby league legend Artie Beatson.”