"WE'RE no different to you guys."
This is the message Legends of League champion Nathan Blacklock had for Whitsunday Christian College students, noting that one thing everyone in the room had in common was they all came from regional towns.
Mr Blacklock's home town of Tingha in NSW has a population below 1000.
He said it didn't matter where you came from or what your background was, greatness was within reach for those with the determination and ability to make it happen.
"People have excuses about not going to where they want to go, but guys like us put our heads down and set ourselves a goal," he said.
And the nuggets of wisdom kept on coming, as fellow league legends Craig Teevan, Craig Wilson, Stuart Kelly and Christian Power spoke candidly about both their successes and challenges.
Mr Teevan thought all his dreams were realised when he made his NRL debut for the Broncos at the age of 18
However, a few stumbling blocks came his way during his first off-season, where he "partied hard" and "played up" and got sacked by the Broncos, Cronulla Sharks and Manly Sea Eagles by the age of 22.
"I partied hard and wanted to be popular with drinking and getting in trouble," he said.
"So all of my dreams were being washed away in front of me because of my poor choices, so I thought what do I do?"
Mr Teevan said he decided to call Wayne Bennett to return to the Broncos and work his way up from the reserve grade.
It was at this point he said he needed to turn a corner and achieve the "proudest moment" of his life.
"I got rid of the alcohol, and worked on my diet cutting out bread and butter and in that off-season instead of being at the back of the pack during training I was at the front of the pack," he said.
"Six weeks into the new season I was picked to play for Queensland in the State of Origin."
The Legends of League visits to Whitsunday Christian College and Proserpine State High School today come ahead of the All Stars match to be held at Denison Park in Bowen on Saturday.
Matches will begin from 9.30am with the main game featuring the Legends of league and Whitsunday Legends to kick off at 7.30pm.
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