Tahu & Gallop meet to address Origin slurs

Timana Tahu and NRL Chief Executive, David Gallop, have met in Parramatta today, with both agreeing on some initial steps to ensure the State of Origin centre’s stance against racial slurs provides a clear message to everyone in Rugby League.

Timana, his wife Kasey, his manager Warwick Wright and other family members joined Mr Gallop and Eels Chief Executive, Paul Osborne, for a discussion on the issues that led to his decision to walk out of the NSW Origin team and on what lessons could be learnt.

“Nobody could ever doubt Timana’s sincerity in what he did last Friday,” Mr Gallop said.

“He cares deeply about ensuring that others don’t feel the need to take a similar stance and we are also committed to that.

“Timana has agreed to meet with our Indigenous Council next week to discuss their program and their plans for the future.

“He has furthermore indicated a willingness to enter into a formal process under the auspices of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, Mr Mick Gooda, to properly resolve the issues of last week with Andrew Johns.

“Certainly I was impressed by his attitude and we are keen to work with him to ensure that long standing lessons are learnt from his stance.”

Timana Tahu said: “Meeting David Gallop today was the first step towards reaching a positive outcome on this issue. It was a chance for me to talk through the issue with him in detail and about what actions we can all work towards together to take a stance on racism in sport and society in general.”

The ARL Indigenous Council is chaired by Mr William ‘Smiley’ Johnstone. Council members include: Australian Sports Commission Indigenous Sport Unit Manager, Carl Currey; ARL National Indigenous Development Program Manager, Ricky Walford; Southbank Institute of Technology Indigenous Australian Peoples' Unit’s Neil Appo; Aboriginal Elder Sol Bellear; RL Chief Executive, Geoff Carr; Country Rugby League Chief Executive, Terry Quinn; Sydney Indigenous Coordination Centre’s Leon Donovan; Former internationals Larry Corowa and Steve Renouf; NRL Director of Community Relations, Trish Crews; NRL Director of Strategy and Special Projects, Shane Mattiske

Formed in 2008, the ARL Indigenous Council has delivered the first Reconciliation Action Plan of any Australian sport and was vital in the formation of the Indigenous All Stars game, which coincided with the second anniversary of the Federal Government’s National Apology to the Stolen Generations.

The ARL Indigenous Council helps Rugby League administer a number of programs including an Indigenous Player Advisory Group established to assist in providing strategic advice and mentoring to young players in the game, the delivery of the Australian Sports Commission’s cultural awareness workshop to all players across the NRL, and an annual Reconciliation Cup match played within the ‘Close the Gap’ Round (Round 24).

“There is a lot of good work underway but issues like those faced by Timana remind us all that there is always more that can be done,” Mr Gallop said.

“I am sure that we can all work together to achieve that aim.”