The men’s and women’s Indigenous and Maori squads have been named ahead of the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League in February next year.
The 2018 Festival will be the second of its kind, with a week-long celebration planned in Sydney, ahead of the men’s and women’s matches on Saturday 10 February at Redfern Oval.
Six teams will play as part of the Festival, including an Interstate Challenge match between teams from Queensland and New South Wales.
Popular Indigenous All Stars elements will also form part of the Festival, including the Youth Summit, a Wellbeing and Employment Expo and NRL Indigenous Players Camp.
NRL General Manager of Indigenous Strategy, Mark Deweerd said the Festival was an exciting way to welcome in the 2018 rugby league year.
“Rugby League’s Indigenous ties are extensive throughout the game, with 12% of the NRL playing group identifying as Indigenous and more than 17% of grassroots players hailing from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds,” Mr Deweerd said.
“The Festival provides an opportunity for communities to acknowledge and celebrate the next generation of Indigenous and Maori players outside of the NRL that are coming through the ranks.
“It will be a wonderful occasion as the teams run onto Redfern Oval next year – a site that has been a spiritual home for many Indigenous people over many years.”
Tickets for the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League are on sale now at www.nrl.com/tickets.
Teams playing at Redfern Oval on Saturday 10 February include:
Men – First Nation Goannas vs. New Zealand Maori
Women – First Nation Gems vs. New Zealand Maori Ferns
Interstate Challenge – Newcastle Yowies (NSW) vs. Dhadin Geai Warriors (QLD)
Squads for the men’s and women’s Indigenous and Maori teams are as follows (with all teams named in surname alphabetical order):
First Nation Goannas
Coach: Laurie Daley
First Nation Gems
Coach: Ben Jeffries
New Zealand Maori
Carne Doyle Manga
Coach: Mark Horo
New Zealand Maori Ferns
Te Aroha Hapuku
Karley Te Kawa
Coach: Victor Heke