Broncos' diversity brings them closer
The Brisbane Broncos are a side of many cultures and diverse backgrounds, with each player having their own story of where they have come from to make it to the NRL.
The team gave their players an opportunity to tell this story and show what their culture means to them last week when they organised a cultural dinner.
The dinner was used as a bonding experience and encouraged some of the quieter players to come out of their shell.
The Broncos are a club built on inclusion, and this is not just within the playing group, with the club itself running a number of mentoring and educational programs for Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander people.
In the first-grade squad, these cultures are just two of many to make up the playing group.
New Zealand international Kodi Nikorima took part in the dinner, and said players were encouraged to share stories as they presented cuisines from their cultural background.
"We're a big cultural team. Last week we had a cultural dinner and it was just good to mix and mingle with all the different cultures that we have here," Nikorima said.
"It really shows on the field the brotherhood we have here.
"The way the dinner works is people bring in food from their culture. We have Samoans, Fijians, Torres Strait Islanders, Papua New Guineans and a whole range of cultures.
"We all brought our own food and spoke about what food it is and had a big feed together."
Veteran Sam Thaiday is a man proud of his Torres Strait Islander descent, but this dinner was a first for him.
Nikorima told media on Monday that Thaiday had immense pride in what the club had organised, with the second-row forward jumping at the opportunity to get involved.
"Sam Thaiday spoke about it being the first time he'd done a culture night like that," he said.
"I think what it does is get the Islanders out of their shells. They get to speak about where they come from.
"It's good (for your culture) to be heard and good to be acknowledged for where you are from."
New Zealand international Benji Marshall arrived at the club in the off-season, bringing with him leadership, experience and his own cultural experiences.
He said getting to know the cultural backgrounds of all his new teammates quickly made him feel part of the group.
"It's a pretty diverse bunch here," Marshall said.
"We have a lot of nationalities, including Indigenous Australians, Maltese and Kiwis.
"You learn a lot when you bring a bunch of guys together from different backgrounds.
"It's good to learn about each other and learn about life. It brings you together."