Indigenous superstars including Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Sam Thaiday have leant their voice and support in a new commercial for more to be done to include and recognise all Indigenous peoples within communities.
The commercial will air at a time when players, clubs and fans will celebrate Indigenous Round (Round 10), with the game paying tribute to the many Indigenous players and communities that play a vital role within Rugby League and wider society.
The NRL will partner with RECOGNISE for the third year in a row, providing a united voice to the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples in the Australian Constitution and ensure there is no place for racial discrimination.
All matches will feature recognition of the round and the importance of Indigenous players, coaches, staff and communities within the game.
The RECOGNISE 'R' will be painted on all 40 metre lines, referees will wear Indigenous inspired jerseys, traditional dances and ceremonies will take place before matches and a host of teams will wear Indigenous Round jerseys.
NRL Indigenous welfare and education manager Dean Widders has spent time with all NRL players and Clubs over the past month, educating teams on the importance of Rugby League to Indigenous communities and the history of Indigenous players in Rugby League over many years.
"We have a long list of Indigenous players, coaches and staff, past and present, that add enormous value and impact to our game and the many fans that follow Rugby League," Mr Widders said.
"Clubs have been fantastic with their level of support of Indigenous peoples – and not just in the lead up to Indigenous Round, but right throughout the season."
RECOGNISE Joint Campaign Director Tanya Hosch congratulated the NRL for its leadership and commitment to supporting RECOGNISE.
"It will be fantastic to see the RECOGNISE 'R' symbol on-field, as well as many players and referees jerseys and the strong support from Clubs across the NRL," Ms Hosch said.
"RECOGNISE is a campaign all Australians can support. It is about addressing racial discrimination and telling our country's whole story and it is pleasing that the NRL is joined by more than 290,000 fellow Australians who have already signed on to support the RECOGNISE movement.
Indigenous Milestone Timeline
- 1925 Glen Crouch – First Indigenous footballer to tour overseas, playing 11 games for Queensland in a New Zealand tour
- 1937 Policy of Assimilation implemented within the Australian Government
- 1945 Bill Onus – Co-founds the Redfern All Blacks Rugby League team, becoming a major community and political organisation throughout the 1950s-60s
- 1960 Lionel Morgan – First Indigenous player to represent Australia in Rugby League
- 1967 Constitutional Referendum – 90.77% of the nation voted 'Yes' for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be included in the Census
- 1971 First Aboriginal Flag flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide
- 1972 Policy of Self Determination – Implemented within the Australian Government
- 1973 Arthur Beetson – First Indigenous player to captain Australia
- 1973 1st Aboriginal Touring Team tours New Zealand, winning 7 out of 9 matches played over 10 days
- 1975 Racial Discrimination Act – passed through Government
- 1980 1st Dally M Awards – 'Player of the Year' awarded to Robert Laurie
- 1985 Uluru Handed Back to its' traditional owners, the Anangu peoples
- 1986 Malcolm Cochrane – awarded Rothman's Medal.
- 1989 ATSI Commission Act established by the Australian Government.
- 1990,'92 & '94 Aboriginal team competes in the Pacific Cup – Players include Ricky Walford, Graham Lyons, Darrell Trindall and Ron Gibbs.
- 1990 & '94 Cliff Lyons – awarded Dally M 'Player of the Year'
- 1991 Ewan McGrady – awarded Rothman's Medal
- 1992 The Native Title – A law passed by the Australian Government to recognise and protect native title for its' co-existence with the national land management system
- 1995 Laurie Daley – awarded Dally M 'Player of the Year'.
- 1997 Arthur Beetson's post-NRL season team – Defeats Papua New Guinean team, PNG Kumuls.
- 1999 'Bringing Them Home' – (AKA The Stolen Generation) report of National Inquiry into the separation of ATSI children from their families
- 2001 Preston Campbell – awarded Dally M 'Player of the Year'
- 2005 Abolishment of the ATSI Commission – First established in 1989. Johnathan Thurston - awarded Dally M 'Player of the Year'. Also awarded in 2007, 2014 and 2015
- 2008 Australian Indigenous v New Zealand Maoris – played as a curtain raiser to the Australia v New Zealand Rugby League World Cup match, including Preston Campbell, Sam Thaiday and Chris Sandow. - Indigenous Team of the Century announced including Laurie Daley as Five Eighth
- 2009 Greg Inglis – Awarded the Golden Boot 'World International Player of the Year'
- 2010 All Stars Tournament – Preston Campbell helps establish All Stars tournament. One team, of Indigenous players (Indigenous All Stars) compete against other players (NRL All Stars) for the All Stars trophy
- 2012 Ben Barba – awarded Dally M 'Player of the Year'.
- 2015 NRL Grand Final – Features two teams captained by Indigenous players Justin Hodges and Johnathan Thurston.