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Campbell-Gillard

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THE MAN BEHIND THE MO

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REAGAN CAMPBELL-GILLARD

THE MAN BEHIND THE MO At first glance Reagan Campbell-Gillard is your typical, old-school NRL enforcer. But there is much more to the man with the mo. He’s the supplier of that brutal shoulder in the tackle, the provider of a powerful charge towards the opposition line. He’s the young Panther with the signature moustache – some lovingly-maintained facial hair that only seems to enhance his intimidating presence on the footy field. But appearances aside, the man affectionately known as ‘Reg’ plays with passion for the community he loves and is determined to use his privileged position to help those less fortunate. It almost never happened. CampbellGillard recalls how he ‘retired’ from rugby league, aged nine, because of the bumps, bruises and big hits. “Back then I didn’t really like playing footy,” he said. “I was getting hurt all the time and Mum reckons I would come off the field crying. “Now I love the contact. I love getting absolutely smashed. It takes me a couple of days to recover from it but then it’s on again the next week. I love it.” Campbell-Gillard would enter the Panthers junior development system as a teenager and in 2013 he won a premiership with the Under-20’s Holden Cup side. The following year he made the step up to New South Wales Cup where he won his second title in two seasons. In 2015 he made his NRL debut

in Round One against the Bulldogs, and went on to play every game for the Panthers in his rookie season. All that is remaining to complete his collection is an NRL Premiership. “I’ve been lucky enough to play in the Holden Cup and NSW Cup Grand Final wins. To get the trifecta and win an NRL Premiership, I can’t possibly explain what that feeling would be like,” Campbell- Gillard said. Community spirit is something that motivates him every time he pulls on the Panthers jersey. It’s this passion that has led to him taking on a role as the first-ever ambassador for Street Swags – a charity providing basic shelter to people experiencing homelessness. “I wanted to do something that had a positive impact on the lives of those who really needed it,” Campbell-Gillard said.

It’s not just the homeless who benefit from the work of Street Swags. The swags themselves are manufactured by inmates in Australian prisons, who in turn gain practical skills and TAFE qualifications. This boosts their employment prospects after release, ultimately helping combat the cycle of poverty, crime and homelessness. Swags are then packaged by school children who are taught the importance of giving back to the community. At just 23 years of age it’s easy to forget Campbell-Gillard is still in the infancy of his career. The no-nonsense way he plays the game and his burning passion for the people of the west invokes memories of a different era, when the Panthers were the chocolate soldiers and rugby league was tribal warfare. Strangely enough, a time and place where that signature moustache of his would look right at home. Help Reagan help the homeless by donating to his fundraising page: https://give.everydayhero.com/au/ streetswags-ambassador Like Reagan: @reagancampbellgillard Follow Reagan: @reagan_campbell_gillard

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