Storm's 'Fox' starts Indigenous legacy
Josh Addo-Carr is creating a rich Indigenous legacy as he quickly rises through the ranks of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Deservedly earning his Representative debut in last week's winning City Origin side, Addo-Carr is fast following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Wally Carr, who was an extremely successful athlete himself.
With 14 siblings, Addo-Carr's Indigenous heritage acts as motivation for the 21-year-old who has taken the NRL by – pardon the pun – storm.
"Josh's cultural respect and cultural connection is amazing – he's extremely proud of his heritage," said Storm Welfare Coordinator Peter Robinson.
"Wally Carr was a prominent Aboriginal boxer. He fought in 13 weight divisions and won in every level."
It's obvious Addo-Carr has been blessed with the athletic talents of his grandfather, with his mother nicknaming him 'The Fox'.
With blistering speed and electric dance-like footwork on the field, Addo-Carr has also captured the hearts and minds of Indigenous Australians with his off-field contributions in the community.
The NRL's Indigenous Round marks a momentous occasion for the Melbourne Storm and Addo-Carr whose central core values of history and culture go hand-in-hand for club and player.
"Indigenous players have been a big part of the game and the game's history – some of the best players like Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis," Storm coach Craig Bellmay said.
"Those guys have added so much to our game, and so much skill and flair to our game.
"We've got Josh Addo-Carr, he's close to the quickest guy in the game. He adds a lot of exciting moments – Will Chambers as well.
"We're very proud of our Indigenous players, it's a big week for them and all Indigenous players in our game."
The prolific winger made his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers last season, scoring four tries in six games, while igniting their second-tier team with a blistering 18 tries in earning selection in the Intrust Super Premiership team of the year.
Moving out of Sydney for the first time, Addo-Carr began a new journey after signing a three-year deal in Melbourne where he has started every game, scoring seven tries so far.
After a less-then-stable upbringing moving house to house and a difficult family history, Addo-Carr recognises that his football voyage can be an inspiration for the rest of the Indigenous community.
Addo-Carr is a strong advocate for 'Quit B Fit' in tackling smoking in the Indigenous community and is studying an education and support course within the Koori unit at the Royal Melbourne Institutue of Technology (RMIT).
His partner Lakaree Smith moved to Melbourne with him and together they are part of the Storm's Reconcilliation Action Plan committee to help bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The club's passion for cultural connectivity strikes a chord for Addo-Carr who is personally thriving in his surroundings.
"At the start of the year we invest a lot of time with culture - we've got 180 players who have worn our jumper and there's been 16 different nationalities," Robinson said.
"At the start of every year, we cluster them and then we put them in groups to do a presentation. Josh did his based on his Indigenous heritage and came out dancing and shaking a leg. He was so proud to represent.
"He does that when he talks about 'Quit B Fit' to educate Indigenous Australians around the impact smoking has on communities.
"It's not surprising but it's nice to see how passionate he is about his heritage and culture. He wants to help, and going by the way he plays the game, kids want to play and be like him. I've got a lot of admiration for the young fella and his partner as well. Lakaree is a terrific young Aboriginal lady herself.
"He's just a likable guy. He's got an amazing laugh. You hear him laugh and you have a grin on your face yourself."
It's more than just Addo-Carr's laugh that is making people grin.
This weekend he will lace up an Indigenous-designed pair of boots and is rumoured to have a special post-try celebration planned should he cross the line against the Titans at Suncorp Stadium.
It's this sense of pride that resonates for Indigenous Australians as Addo-Carr's infectious energy continues to pave the way for future generations to succeed like he has.