The competition encouraging schools in Katherine and the surrounding communities to get involved in rugby league was in full swing today.
More than 250 students hit the field in a series of games vying for the coveted Luke Kelly Cup.
The winning title was snatched up by Clyde Fenton last year, but was put through their paces this year with two additional schools added to the mix - Beswick and Daly River.
The NRL Magic Round in Brisbane involving all 16 clubs meant rugby league star Luke Kelly, a school icon, was not able to attend.
NRL development officer Darren Manaway said participation in the competition was a good way for many of the students to learn the skills from the ground up.
On one field, confident players were battling it out in full contact games, while on another, those who were starting out were participating in league tag.
"Rugby league is usually played less because it is a full contact sport. There is lots of tackling, which takes a lot of skill," Mr Manaway said.
"But the good thing about this competition is we offer league tag for those who are starting out. They can participate in the game, learn the skills and gradually progress.
"This is where it starts, in country towns like Katherine. It is about participation and grassroots rugby league."
For students at Barunga school, the Katherine competition could be the only one they participate in for the year - but it is one the students were very excited about.
Approximately 80km from Katherine, most parents don't have the means to drive children to weekend competitions or weekly training, school teacher Natalee Forder said today.
She had brought 27 excited students from the remote town, most of whom have worked hard in class to earn their ticket to play.
"For some of these students this is their first competition," Ms Forder said.
"They have to work hard in class and be extra good to be able to come along. It is a bit of a reward."
For the students who attend Barunga school, engaging in sport is a luxury.
"There is definitely a lack of opportunity for sport in Barunga, which is a shame because they should be able to work towards representing the NT if they want to.
"Families just don't have the means - they don't have cars or they don't have petrol money - to get their kids to sport in Katherine."
The Luke Kelly Cup's round-robin competition involved Katherine schools as well as students from Barunga, Mataranka, Daly River and Beswick.
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