US GRIDIRON star Jesse Williams returned to his former home club, the Bayside Ravens, to help the state government launch the next round of its Get Started funding program this morning.
The Seattle Seahawks rookie, also known as Tha Monstar, met Premier Campbell Newman and Sports Minister Steve Dickson to remind parents to sign up for round two of the funding scheme.
A special junior drills session for local gridiron clubs was held at Williams' home club this morning.
Mr Williams said he was living his dream.
"Being an able bodied athlete, I want to see more people who aren’t able bodied get the opportunities they deserve,” Mr Williams said.
“It’s an issue which is very close to my heart. My mother and father are involved in Ability Skills Australia which does a great job giving people with a disability a brighter future through sporting, recreational and lifestyle activities.”
Mr Newman said applications for Get Started, part of the government’s flagship Get in the Game program, open tomorrow, July 15.
“Our $47 million grassroots sports funding initiative is part of the LNP’s commitment to lower the cost of living for Queenslanders by reducing the costs of club registrations and funding better sports equipment and infrastructure,” Mr Newman said.
“It’s fantastic to have Jesse here today to remind people of the great things which can be accomplished by getting involved in sport.
“We’re very proud of what he’s achieved so far and looking forward to watching him show the American NFL league and the world what Queenslanders can do.”
Mr Dickson said the Get Started $150 voucher program gave children whose families might not otherwise be able to afford it, an opportunity to join a sport or recreation club.
“One of the greatest things about the first round of Get Started was that more than 20 per cent of vouchers were issued to children who had never been members of a sporting club before,” Mr Dickson said.
“It’s important to remember that every elite athlete has their first start at a local club, and the LNP is committed to improving sport and community clubs throughout the state with this vital grassroots funding.”
Cleveland MP Mark Robinson along with Capalaba MP Steve Davies and Redlands MP Peter Dowling welcomed Tha Monstar back to Redland City as part of NAIDOC Week and the launch of the expanded Get in the Game funding initiative.
"Jesse's journey as an indigenous Queenslander from Redlands juniors to professional American football is an inspirational story," Mr Robinson said.
"The increased funding through 'Get in the Game' means more socially disadvantaged children in Cleveland can join a sport, and more funds will be made available to clubs for equipment and infrastructure."