Rugby League has shown the way to all sports in indigenous participation and reconciliation  

16.02.10 08:22 

Chairman of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, Mr William ‘Smiley’ Johnstone has today thanked the Rugby League community, sponsors and fans for the way they embraced the inaugural Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match. 

Chairman of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, Mr William ‘Smiley’ Johnstone has today thanked the Rugby League community, sponsors and fans for the way they embraced the inaugural Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match.

Mr. Johnstone said:

“Rugby League has shown the way to all sports in indigenous participation and reconciliation.

“It was a tribute to the players the clubs, the NRL and the Leagues but it was also the culmination of a lot of work under the Reconciliation Action Plan and the Whole of Game Strategic Plan.

“From the ARL appointment of Ricky Walford as its Indigenous Rugby League manager, to the formation of the ARL Indigenous Council to advise the game on indigenous matters, Rugby League has been taking significant steps for some time,

“The Indigenous Council which is made up of business, government and community leaders who are joined by former players Larry Corrowa, Steve Renouf and Ricky Walford.

“The Council, which is widely respected by the Indigenous community, is responsible for setting policy and has been supported one hundred percent by the ARL Board in all of it recommendations.

“The ARL Indigenous Council worked closely with the NRL and the Clubs to make the Harvey Norman All Stars Match to reality.

“The celebration of Rugby League’s importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders has been integrated through the Council’s involvement in key events such as the announcement of the Indigenous Team of the Century, the ‘Welcome to Country’ match against New Zealand Maori as part of the 2008 World Cup and, just as importantly, the endorsement of the NSW Aboriginal Knockout as an official ARL event.

“By working alongside the game’s administrators, the Council has not only been able to provide practical advice, but has also had strategic input in planning the game’s future.

“This has ensured the ongoing relevance of Indigenous Rugby League which is important from a game perspective.

“It also has tremendous significance to those Indigenous communities where ‘the greatest game of all’ is played.

“Through the support of the ARL, NRL and the Clubs, and the partnership with key sponsors and government, the entire rugby league community has come together to foster the development of the game and the provision of community programs to those in need – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

“As a proud Aboriginal man, I am equally proud to be part of the game and to work alongside my fellow Council members in ensuring future opportunities on and off the field for Indigenous youth, our people and our communities.

“Rugby League fulfills the lifelong dreams for many Indigenous people and players and I’m sure it will continue to fuel the dreams of every young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kid kicking an oval ball around the backyard.

 

“No other game can afford them the opportunity that the Indigenous All Stars had on Saturday night – to represent our people in a game of international quality against some of the best players the NRL can put on display.”

 

home page         print media