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Proud Bundjalung man Ryan James is thrilled the Indigenous Round concept has not only gone from strength to strength in the NRL but has been adopted by other sports.

Off the field, James has acknowledged the importance of the round to Australia, particularly its First Nations people, while on the field, he is ecstatic to see Josh Hodgson and Jack Wighton returning for the Raiders as they look to bounce back from a heavy loss to Melbourne when they face the Roosters on Saturday.

Sporting the club's Indigenous Round jersey featuring a wedgetail eagle representing the Ngunnawal people on the front and goanna representing the Wiradjuri people on the back, James said the acknowledgement across the sport was important to the players.

"It's good that they incorporated some of the teammates and the people from this area (on the jersey)," James said.

"It's always a proud moment to run out for Indigenous Round for myself. I get to represent our people and our culture. I'm extremely excited the NRL acknowledges this round for the First Nations people because it means so much to us.

"It's something that's grown a lot since the induction of the All Stars when Preston Campbell came up with that concept.

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"It's just grown, not just in rugby league but it's grown into all different sports and it's good to see all the other sports have hopped on this round to really acknowledge the First Nations people.

"That's all we really want is acknowledgement that we're here and just to move on. We just have to make sure they know we were here first."

It will be James's first chance to represent his culture since the 2018 Indigenous Round due to back-to-back knee reconstructions.

"It's been a while since I played an All Stars or an Indigenous Round so it's going to be a little bit different, I haven't run out in an Indigenous jersey in a while," he added.

"It's always a great moment for myself and my family. To be able to represent your family every week but just have this week for Indigenous Round is awesome. My mother is my Indigenous side and every time I put on the jersey I play for my family but it's really special for my mother."

The Raiders' preparations for their Central Coast Stadium showdown have been cast into turmoil with halfback George Williams released by the club after informing officials of his desire to return to England.

The return from suspension of Dally M medallist Wighton and Hodgson will give the Green Machine some much-needed stability, according to James.

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"Jack's awesome for us - obviously he got player of the year last year and he's a big part of our team and Hodgo's great in the middle," James said.

"His talk is second to none and just his leadership around the boys and how he talks to them, having that voice of leadership is something we've been missing a little bit.

"We have other leaders in the club but Josh just has that calmness about him that can really bring everyone together. When he came back and played against the Bulldogs you could see a little bit of change we needed and unfortunately lost him last week but he's back this week."

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There would be no better way for the team to recapture its form than against a Roosters side that the Raiders have had some epic battles against in recent years, including a big upset in round 10 last year that sold James on a move to the nation's capital.

"That was the decision why I chose to come to this club last year, was early on in the season I watched them verse the Roosters with six or seven players out and they still manage to get the win," he said.

"Once we get that confidence boost where we can just hop on the back of a good game I think we'll start playing good footy and hopefully this week we can do that."

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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