THE UK Armed Forces rugby league team’s World Cup charm offensive continued to gather pace today as members of the team held a training sessions with sport mad youngsters at the Marconi Mustangs junior RL club in Parramatta.

The sessions which are part of the NRL’s school holiday clinics, saw more than 100 children take part with a smaller group of 30 kids being put through their paces by the UK players, Sgt Ben Cartmell, Men Jamie Birdsall, ET Mike Haldenby, SAC(T) Liam Bradley, Cfn George Clarke and Mjr Dave Groce.

Mjr Groce said: “It was fantastic to see the players interacting with the local kids. Both they and the children seemed to benefit from the experience.

“What really hit me was how well resourced the NRL initiative was and how excited the children were to participate. It is a shame such sessions are not run at home for our youngsters.”

Speaking after the session Cfn Clarke said: “I loved doing that, the kids were really good, and also so well behaved. I would have loved to have had something like that at home when I was a youngster.”

Marshall Boyd, NRL Game Development Officer for the Parramatta Eels said: “This club is pretty unique, league is a new sport to this club and the staff are really promoting the sport, they have 13 sides ranging from under sixes to under 16s, so to have the UK Armed Forces guys here is terrific and you can see from their reaction to the guys, they all loved it.

“Our school holiday clinics is about promoting the game and developing the junior game, which increase exposure to the club, attracts new players of all levels and register with that club. It keeps the game out their in the community.”

The players carried out basic skills sessions with the eager youngsters, before a scramble field session closed the day off. This was followed by a brief question and answered session with the team that featured questions on the lads time in the game, positions they had played and ages that they scored their first tries, with Mne Jamie Birdsall challenge to a drop goal kicking competition.

The players were then tasked with handing out NRL goodie bags, along with some UKAFRL stickers, which proved hugely popular, with many of the kids wearing them with pride on their hats and shirts.

The team will finish their matches when they face New Zealand on July 12 at Windsor, before the third and fourth place play off match on July 14, at Wentworthville.

You can follow the team’s progress on Facebook at: United Kingdom Armed Forces Rugby League or on Twitter: @UKArmedForcesRL