Former Canberra Raiders prop and Queensland State of Origin representative David Shillington will be at The Daily Examiner Shield final night at McKittrick Park tonight.
Former Canberra Raiders prop and Queensland State of Origin representative David Shillington will be at The Daily Examiner Shield final night at McKittrick Park tonight. COLIN WHELAN

Shillington lends support to healthy Clarence message

RUGBY LEAGUE: He has played for Queensland, played for Australia and even worn the NRL All Stars strip but there is one thing Dave Shillington still has not done in his 215-game NRL career.

He has never run out on to McKitrrick Park.

But that will all change tonight as the lovable giant comes to the Clarence Valley for The Daily Examiner Shield finals as an NRL State of Mind ambassador to promote better awareness of mental health.

Shield organiser Janita Cooper said the school-based rugby league competition provided the perfect platform to connect with teenagers and communicate the values of a healthy state of mind.

"I think the competition it is an effective way to have all the kids together but we are not forcing the issue on them,” she said. "There will be plenty of avenues if they feel like they need to talk, so we will be promoting mental health in a more effective way.

The Daily Examiner Shield finals night flyer.
The Daily Examiner Shield finals night flyer. Contributed

"The finals night provides us with an open area of communication between students who are suffering and people that can help. We will show them how they can get the help, and if they want to approach someone they have that opportunity.

"I think there is enough pressures on kids today, so this is thinking there is no pressure on them to do anything or talk to anyone. The option is there.”

Cooper admitted Shillington's elevated profile as an NRL star and State of Origin representative player will give the students another avenue that they can relate to.

"Shillo has an NRL profile, he is a sportsperson who has achieved and he is a great role model for these kids. They look up to him, so if he is saying it is okay to talk about how you are feeling, it is just another way we can better connect with the students.

"I want him to give the kids, and the adults, some reassurance that there is help there, all they have to do is reach out.

Clarence Valley Council will also be at the DEX Shield finals night promoting their Our Healthy Clarence campaign which also aims to raise awareness of mental health.

The Daily Examiner Shield is proudly sponsored by South Grafton Rebels and South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club and will kick off today at McKittrick Park from 4pm.

Grafton singing duo Milly and Tash will provide entertainment throughout the night, while there will also be a $200 Kick For Cash sponsored by the Rebels that will bring the fans closer to the action on field.

Spectators can give a gold coin donation at the gate and will instantly go in the draw for the spot kick challenge.