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Inglis wants Indigenous dance for Test team

Inglis wants Indigenous dance for Test team
Indigenous players have come together for a two-day camp ahead of the 2017 Harvey Norman All Stars match. Credit: NRL Media. Copyright: NRL Media.

Kangaroos superstar Greg Inglis believes most of his Test team-mates are supportive of the Australian side adopting the dance that the Indigenous All Stars will perform on Friday night at Newcastle's McDonald-Jones Stadium.

Inglis will again lead the dance before kick-off in the annual match against the World All Stars after guiding players through the moves during the NRL Indigenous Player Camp on the weekend at the Quarantine Station on Sydney Harbour.

Gallery: Indigenous players camp 2017

After four years of developing and rehearsing the dance, Indigenous players are now more confident performing publicly and many in the game believe the upcoming Rugby League World Cup is an ideal opportunity for the Kangaroos to revive what was a 59-year tradition until 1967.

"I would love to see it happen without a doubt," Inglis said. 

"I want to bring that back because it would be something that is unique in rugby league."

With Australian coach Mal Meninga open to the idea, discussions are expected to be held with senior Kangaroos players in the lead up to the World Cup at the end of this season.

If they agree to adopt it, Inglis said the dance could come to have the same meaning for Australians as the haka does for New Zealanders. 

"Mal is a supporter of it and I think the majority of the players are," the South Sydney fullback said. 

"I think it is obviously going to be a matter of taking it to the playing group and presenting it to them, and going from there.

"Hopefully it does happen and it sticks around for a very long time because I think we have the chance, as the players of now, to leave a good tradition behind with this cultural dance."

 


While some Test players may not be comfortable performing a dance on the field, Canberra star Jack Wighton said he also felt awkward but had enjoyed the experience at the past two All Stars matches and was becoming more confident. 

"The first year we did the new dance [in 2015] was awesome but what we did in this camp compared to the first time we did it, it has come a long way," Wighton said.

"I still don't like dancing, it is probably something I should try to learn and do a bit more of, but I don't dance in the clubs either.

"But it's really good to participate in something like that and on the night it is even more special."

Wighton only celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday but he is considered a leader among the Indigenous players, and officials attribute his development to participating in the Indigenous camps for the past five years.

Most of those in attendance were NRL rookies and the camp focused heavily on Indigenous culture, with the players listening to an address by Stan Grant and attending a spear making session on Clark Island in Sydney Harbour.  

"I think that the whole point of the camp is to ensure these young guys are confident in the way they are and who they are so. I can't speak more highly of these camps," Inglis said. 

"It is great to be part of these workshops

"Coming on these camps creates a really good vibe about the All Stars next week. It gives you a sense of belonging and it is just great to have this camp leading into Friday's match."

After speculation last year that the All Stars concept may not survive in the crowded pre-season, Indigenous players and officials are confident the future of the game is now secure.

"It has always been questioned but I think it has changed dramatically," Inglis said. 

"I think what helps out a lot is that the clubs get behind it and also the coaches.

"It is just great to be a part of it. I think players love playing in it and it is great that we go out to do work in the communities."

Gallery: Indigenous players camp 2017

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