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Dragons' Kerr keen to follow footsteps of Indigenous NRL greats

Josh Kerr hopes to be part of the next generation of young Indigenous NRL players who will follow proudly in the footsteps of the likes of Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston and Matt Bowen.

The 22-year-old Indigenous forward was thrilled to be part of St George Illawarra's launch of their Reconciliation Action Plan to celebrate NAIDOC Week.

The RAP, which has been endorsed by 10 other NRL clubs, has a vision to create an inclusive Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their history and cultures, along with supporting the country's aim to close the gap.

Kerr said he was proud to see how far the game has come in getting behind the nation's first people.

"When they told me they wanted me to be a part of it and the lead on it, it was pretty special and honouring," Kerr said.

"I'm really proud to be a part of it as the game itself over the last 10 years has progressed massively in supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."

With so many amazing role models in our game, for Kerr it was the Indigenous players in particular that inspired him as a youth.

"Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston and Matt Bowen they helped inspire and helped give me courage as a young man to stand up for what I believe in and that's being a proud Indigenous man.

"And I'm really proud to see so many great role models in our game now as well."

Meanwhile, the Dragons will look to get their premiership campaign back on track on Sunday against the Wests Tigers after slipping to second place last week behind South Sydney in the wake of their 52-30 thumping at the hands of Melbourne.

Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop.
Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Dragons captain Gareth Widdop said their poor defensive display at AAMI Park raised some red flags.

"Our defence is an area we really need to fix up," Widdop said.

"For a team to score 52 points is pretty disappointing especially when we built our season on defence."

Widdop said the Dragons were focused on rediscovering their early-season form in the last eight rounds. He said their five Origin players - Ben Hunt, Jack de Belin, Paul Vaughan, Tyson Frizell and Tariq Sims - are likely to back up this Sunday as St George Illawarra look to find their groove again.

"There a process behind that [winning premierships] and for us it's to get everyone back and do the things we were doing well earlier on in the season," Widdop said.

"Start playing some consistent football week in week out and give our best efforts."

The Tigers will be boosted by the return of five-eighth Benji Marshall and Widdop expected the former Dragons star to come out all guns blazing.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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