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Bulldogs Kick Off NRL Indigenous Round with Cultural Celebration

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have embraced the NRL’s Indigenous Round, today hosting a Club launch in celebration of the Round.

Gathering at their spiritual home ground of Belmore Sports Ground, on Darug and Eora nation lands, Bulldogs players, staff and special guests gathered for a special blessing and Welcome to Country by local Indigenous Elder Uncle John before revealing their full Indigenous playing and training apparel range.

Bundjalung artist Pam Brandy-Hall stood with proud Wiradjuri and Gunnggandji man Josh Addo-Carr, who donned the striking Indigenous jersey, as she spoke about the meaning behind her special designs.

The Bulldogs will proudly wear the Indigenous range when they host Round 12 of the NRL Premiership at Accor Stadium this Thursday evening. The Bulldogs will line up against the St George Illawarra Dragons in the first of the NRL’s Indigenous Round matches on Thursday, May 23.

Beyond running out in the specially designed jerseys that celebrate cultural heritage and connection, several players will also lace up in hand-painted boots that carry a personal story.

In partnership, the Bulldogs together with Boots For Brighter Futures, proud Bidjigal man Blake Taaffe, Dharug man Josh Curran, as well as non-Indigenous players Reed Mahoney, Liam Knight, Jacob Preston, Viliame Kikau, Jacob Preston, Matt Burton and Stephen Crichton were presented with boots painted by Indigenous students from Gorokan High.

The students each partook in this years’ Boots For Brighter Futures Program, which allows youth to connect with their culture and identity through art by painting boots specifically for players to wear in the NRL’s Indigenous Round. All of the boots are then auctioned with all proceeds going towards supporting the Cultural Choice Association Incorporation which aims to raise awareness and support the prevention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide and its related causes in Australia.

The Bulldogs will further recognise and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture with Members and fans during the Club’s home match on Thursday, which is set to be played on Wann-gal lands at Sydney Olympic Park (Accor Stadium).

Preluding the match, a packed schedule of activities and entertainment will be undertaken to promote unity and community engagement while respecting and recognising Indigenous culture. Indigenous artists will perform on the field before kick-off and at halftime, while attendees will also be treated to a special light show.

Bulldogs alumni Willie Tonga, who is of Aboriginal-Australian (Wiradjuri) and Tongan descent, will lead the Bulldogs out of the tunnel as they ready to face the Dragons for the first time in 2024 carrying a special token of Club heritage and unity to present to the opposition in the traditional gift exchange.

Students from both the Boots For Brighter Futures Program as well as the NRL’s School To Work Program will be in attendance at the match.

The evening will be a thrilling triple header with the Bulldogs and Accor Stadium partnering up to first host the Clontarf State of Origin at 3:45pm, before the NSW Cup curtain raiser at 5:30pm, and of course, the main event at 7:50pm. Tickets are all-inclusive and are available to purchase now at Ticketek.

Don’t miss the Bulldogs opening this year’s NRL Indigenous Round at Accor Stadium.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.