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The New South Wales Rugby League’s City Origin side has linked with one of Australia’s most important community service agencies in a major partnership agreement.

KARI Aboriginal Resources Incorporated (KARI), established in 1999, is an Aboriginal community service, one of the largest accredited Aboriginal Children’s Services in Australia – and now it has naming-rights and front-of-jersey sponsorship for the KARI City Origin side.

KARI delivers a quality out-of-home care service model that delivers full case management of Aboriginal children and young people in foster care, allowing the organisation to be more innovative and effective in assuring Aboriginal culture plays a significant part in the person’s upbringing. 

Also instrumental to the organisation’s success is the KARI Clinic, a comprehensive multi-disciplinary assessment service offered to children and young people in care vital health and wellbeing options. In 2008 the Clinic was awarded the Premier's Excellence Award for Health, Wellbeing, Body and Mind as well as the NSW Aboriginal Health Award for Strengthening Aboriginal Families and Children. 

KARI and the NSWRL share a rich working history, with both organisations benefitting from a particularly close partnership over recent years. KARI has been instrumental in their support of a number of NSWRL’s Indigenous health, welfare, education and high-performance programs, including generous assistance with under-age representative sides and overseas tours.

Chief Executive of the NSWRL, David Trodden, labelled the partnership a win for the game as well as the KARI City Origin side.

“The KARI organisation does outstanding, life-changing work in the community and it is wonderful to have their logo on the front of one of our most prized possessions, the City Origin jersey,” Trodden said.

“KARI and the people who work for the service provide the highest standard of care for Indigenous people in need while ensuring individuals retain their cultural and family identities.

“Rugby league continues to strive to close the gap and bring communities together and this partnership highlights just that.”

Founding member of KARI, current CEO and proud Aboriginal man Paul Ralph said the partnership was a significant one for his organisation and for rugby league in general.

“This long association between KARI and the NSWRL has proven to be a very successful one and has over time delivered many positive outcomes for our community and especially for young Indigenous people, both boys and girls,” Ralph said.

“This year, we will again partner up to send some 50 people including 35 young Indigenous boys to Europe to (1) play some exhibition games of rugby league and (2) visit the Somme War Memorial site in France and (3) experience other cultures from at least five European countries. This once-in-a-lifetime experience can be life changing for so many in so many positive ways.”     

“We are proud to partner with the team at the NSWRL as we continue to deliver quality outcomes for Aboriginal people. We also appreciate the respect values that the NSWRL places on this relationship.” 

KARI City Origin coach Brad Fittler said the agreement was an “honour”.

“We’re honoured as an organisation to have KARI on the front of our City jersey,” Fittler said.

“In today’s world, culture and history are vulnerable – it’s great that KARI is there to help people retain a strong connection to their culture and backgrounds as well as providing quality out-of-home care.

“The best players in our game are Indigenous – and the KARI City Origin partnership ensures rugby league helps that community, both on and off the field.

“I would have been honoured to pull on this jersey and play in the KARI City Origin strip.”

The KARI City Origin side meet Country in this year’s Country-City clash at McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga on Sunday, May 3. Tickets are now on sale.

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Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours 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.

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