CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
Indigenous Round has kicked off in the NRL overnight, as the South Sydney Rabbitohs defeat St George 32-26, with each of their tries scored by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players.
The NRL’s 2020 Indigenous Round theme is “Pass Back. Move Forward.” to highlight the importance of understanding and appreciating Indigenous history and culture in order to build a better future.
The focus of Round 12 will be encouraging fans to learn about the traditional custodians of the land where they live, and in support of this, all stadiums hosting Indigenous Round matches will include an acknowledgement to local First Nations people as part of their stadium name.
However, while clubs like the South Sydney Rabbitohs have gone all out with their jersey to includes a handprint of the club’s eight Indigenous players and a totem for their tribe – The Canberra Raiders appear to be prioritising the intelligence arm of the Chinese Government.
This comes as Raiders star and proud Wiradjuri man Jack Wighton has criticised his club for a lack of effort in designing their jersey for Indigenous Round.
The Raiders are the only club not to have an Indigenous symbol on the front of their jersey, opting to keep a giant Huawei logo on the front, with a couple of Aboriginal patterns on the sleeve.
Incumbent Blues and Kangaroos centre Wighton is the only Indigenous Australian in the Raiders’ first-grade squad and believes the club should have done much more.
“I just feel like we ticked a box this year” said Wighton, in a measured response to this quintessentially Canberra fuck up.
A spokesbureaucrat from The Raiders has since responded to the backlash and said that, as the NRL club representing the nation’s capital, it carries a duty to also represent the other communities with great cultural influence over their hometown.
“Like the Lebanese drums at the Bulldogs games. Obviously everyone down here is completely beholden to China, so yeah. ” said the ex-government staffer turned head of PR at The Raiders.
“The Kooris can have the sleeves but sorry, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd get the front”