Kangaroos war dance up for discussion
Momentum is building to reintroduce an Indigenous war cry to the Australian Rugby League team with the 2017 Rugby League World Cup to mark 50 years since it was last performed.
The Kangaroos team that toured France in 1967-68 were the last to perform the pre-game ritual but Greg Inglis has used his first week as captain of the Indigenous All Stars team to further the campaign, finding support in good friend and Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith.
Inglis was hoping to bring Smith into the Indigenous camp at some stage this week in order to introduce him to the meaning behind the war dance that was developed by the players and performed for the first time at last year's All Stars game.
The jam-packed schedule made that impossible but on the eve of the sixth All Stars clash Smith said he would welcome the chance to discuss it further and then present it to the rest of the Kangaroos playing squad.
"I think the war dance is a great thing," said Smith, who will stand opposite it again at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. "I've been opposite the Haka many times. It's a way of celebrating their heritage and their traditions.
"It's great and I know there is a bit of talk about trying to reintroduce something like it in the Kangaroos team so that might come up in discussions in the future.
"At the end of the day I'm one member of the team – yes I'm the captain but I'm still a team member. I don't make the decisions but I'd be more than happy to have a discussion with all the other members and obviously the coaching staff as well.
"It has been used a long time ago and it has been lost to the team over the years. It's certainly something we can all talk about."
The site of Inglis rising from the centre of an Indigenous All Stars huddle to lead the war dance was one of the enduring images of last year's All Stars and said he has been proud to be the one at the forefront for the Indigenous team.
"From when we first started the Indigenous camp everyone sort of sat back and shied away from getting up and doing cultural stuff, where now everyone is jumping in without hesitation which is great to see," Inglis told NRL.com.
"I just love doing it. I love to jump in and love to do it, it's just who I am. I'm not ashamed or shy of doing it.
"I've known Cam for a long time now and knowing Cam he has opened himself up to wanting to learn about it all. That's where we could start and go on from there.
"We just have to connect and talk to the right people about it, obviously the playing group first and foremost. Start with the captain and the board of the Australian Rugby League.
"I reckon if we get a great big push from the players then I can't see why not."
Given the positive reactions to the Haka (New Zealand), Sipi Tau (Tonga) and Siva Tau (Samoa) in Test matches in recent years, organisers of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup are believed to be keen to incorporate Indigenous culture into the tournament.
But even if it does not eventuate in that timeframe, Inglis said he will take pride in seeing it performed by those representing the green and gold after he hangs up the boots.
"It's just taking it one step at a time and knocking walls down," said the 29-year-old.
"I'd love to see it and I'd take great pride in it if it were introduced even if it is when I have retired. I'd just love to see it eventually make its way into the national side.
"It is something we want to incorporate with music and like 'Smithy' said, it's the dance we want to take further.
"We will have a chat and sit around and talk about it being introduced into the Kangaroos side."