No value can be put on the All Stars: Burney
Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council chair Linda Burney believes no value can be placed on the importance of the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars fixture.
The Federal Member for Barton was in Newcastle on Wednesday to help formally announce the annual All Stars fixture will be played at Hunter Stadium in 2017.
Ms Burney, while pleased by the work Brisbane and the Gold Coast have done previously in hosting the All Stars game, was excited to see the match head to New South Wales for the very first time.
"I love the idea that the All Stars game is able to travel, it's a really great reimagining of the concept. It's a tribute and a moral compass to the players that participate," Burney said.
"Look at the enthusiasm of the players and the understanding from players who know what this week is about, that's when we begin to recognise what All Stars truly means.
"What it does for rugby league in this country is massive, there's no value you can put on the All Stars and the message it sends."
A proud Indigenous women herself, Ms Burney labelled Newcastle and the wider region a perfect candidate to host the All Stars game.
"The Hunter is rich in terms of Aboriginal culture, Aboriginal players and Aboriginal people. Those are things we need to call on next year when the All Stars come to Newcastle," she said.
"The All Stars story is one of the great stories of rugby league. It's a game that represents to the Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal and football community a celebration of culture, a mark of respect and of course the process of reconciliation.
"It's fabulous it's coming to Newcastle because it is a rugby league town and I'm sure the locals will respond appropriately."
Indigenous Women All Stars representative Rebecca Young couldn't agree with Ms Burney's sentiment more.
Newcastle local Young represented the Indigenous All Stars last year when the Women All Stars emerged 24-4 victors.
"The NRL have made a great decision to come here to Newcastle. It's a strong rugby league community. We have our Knights, we have our local league and to marry those together is going to be important for our game," Young said.
"The opportunity for us to go out into the schools and help educate and recognise students about Indigenous culture will be amazing.
"The Indigenous community here in Newcastle will really appreciate that and they deserve that recognition. If I get the opportunity to run out on my home turf, I'll be extremely proud."