Andrew Fifita was joined by representatives of the other 15 NRL clubs in helping the NRL to celebrate Indigenous Round this weekend, with every NRL club wearing Indigenous inspired jerseys during the round 10 for the first time in history.
Fifita was alongside his rival this weekend in Joel Thompson from the Dragons, with the pair friends today in helping to promote their Indigenous Round game before they turn into ‘foes’ on Friday night for the local derby clash
A series of cultural performances, gift exchanges, a performance on-screen by Judith Durham and Welcome to Country ceremonies will occur at all matches, with a theme of Recognition as the focal point throughout the round.
Past Indigenous legends of the game, Dean Widders and George Rose will also spend time with each club in the lead up to the round, educating teams on the importance of the round and history of rugby league amongst Indigenous communities.
Rose was at the Sharks last Thursday with jersey designer and local elder Aunty Deanna Schreiber and representatives of RECOGNISE in helping to educate the Sharks players on the importance of Indigenous Round and the impact rugby league has amongst Indigenous communities
The NRL is continuing its partnership with RECOGNISE throughout Indigenous Round, with support for the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and ensure there is no place for racial discrimination.
Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council Chairwoman, the Honourable Linda Burney MP said the round would provide a continued opportunity to celebrate the unique bond between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Rugby League.
“Rugby League has been a leader in support and inclusion for all people over many years and the game benefits greatly from the participation and engagement levels of Indigenous communities,” Ms Burney said.
“As a Rugby League fan, it is pleasing to be involved with a game that recognises and celebrates Indigenous peoples not just during one round of the year, but throughout the year, both on and off the field.”
The 2017 NRL Indigenous Round will also celebrate two significant milestones during the round:
o The 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum to enable States and Territories to make laws in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to count them in the census
o The 25th anniversary of the 1992 High Court Mabo decision that recognised native title for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg confirmed the level of participation amongst Indigenous players was increasing, with almost a fifth of the 77 players that made their NRL debut in 2016 hailing from Indigenous backgrounds.
“As a game, we are committed to increasing participation levels and opportunities for Indigenous players at all levels and equally, we will continue to support Indigenous communities to thrive and achieve their potential in their work, study and home lives,” Mr Greenberg said.
Tickets are still available to all Indigenous Round matches, including the double-header match at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday between the Storm vs. Titans (first match) and Sea Eagles vs. Broncos (second match).
For more information about the round, including activity at matches and to purchase tickets, head to www.nrl.com/indigenous