THE NRL Wests Tigers are supporting a new football program that encourages children to stay in school.
Called the Slingshot Program, it was created and developed by Miller Public School's chaplain, Tanya Middleton.
"There were a few kids who were getting suspended two to three times a term in primary school," she said.
"Their parents wanted to get them involved in a sport but couldn't afford the fees and couldn't get them to the games.
"I wanted to create something that would encourage them to stay in school . . . something they could work towards and that they were good at."
Brodie Thew and Bailey Carroll Ryan of year 4 were first to be a part of the Slingshot Program.
The NRL Wests Tigers have paid for boys to play for the Valley United Vikings under 10 division, covering the cost of their equipment, uniforms, mouth guards, and football boots. As part of the program, the boys are required to attend their weekly training sessions and match games, as well as going to a social skills group held at school.
They are rewarded for their good behaviour by getting special experiences with West Tigers team players, including going to matches, touring the dressing rooms, meeting the players and receiving letters of encouragement.
Miss Middleton said the boys' behaviour had changed since they started the program three months ago.
"They are both doing really well," she said. "There's been a shift in their attitude. They haven't been suspended since they've been involved."