Manly coach Des Hasler has praised prop Josh Aloiai for using his profile to call for an end to the gang violence and “post-code wars” being blamed for the fatal stabbing of a teenager at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show.
Aloiai, who plays for Samoa, took to Instagram and did several interviews on the eve of Saturday night’s match against the Titans at 4 Pines Park to urge Pacific Islanders to “fight to be a role model” and stop squandering their futures.
“As Pacific Islanders, our forefathers migrated to countries like New Zealand and Australia, and that was largely so the future generations, which is us now, would have so much more opportunities,” Aloiai told radio 2GB.
“We are squandering away all the sacrifices that our forefathers made for us – our grandparents and our parents – and at the moment, rather than most of the opportunities, we are stuck in turf wars and we are hurting each other.
“We are our own worst enemies, and it needs to be talked about.
“We need better role models, and it is a call to big brothers to lead your siblings in words and actions, parents educate our young ones about what our forefathers done so that we live in countries like Australia, where we are very, very blessed.
“They didn’t bring us here for this. It is happening far too often, not just recently, although that has obviously sparked up a lot of this conversation. It is sad and it is heart breaking.“
Hasler said players like Aloiai and Samoa team-mate Brian To’o, who plays for Penrith, wanted to make a difference and were prepared to use their influence to call for an end to the violence between Sydney’s so-called post-code gangs.
“Josh is in a position and he understands his position not only as an athlete but as a father and a parent,” Hasler said.
“Everyone at the club is very proud of that individual and to see him taking that stance and be actively able to do something about it because he has been through it, he knows the background.
“Rugby league is really fortunate to be able to have people like Josh, and I see Brian To’o from Penrith has also come out.
“It is great that you have individuals within the game like Josh and Brian, and others I am sure, to come and take that responsibility. It is just fantastic.”
ARLC chairman Peter V’landys also praised the players for speaking out and said the code would do what it could to help stop the violence.
“I want to commend some of our players who have come out in the past 48 hours and tried to calm the communities and call out this senseless behaviour which has lifetime ramifications,” V’landys told News Corp.
“Our players are heroes and role models in these regions, and I congratulate those who have taken up leadership roles in this area.
“Rugby league is part of the DNA of Sydney. If we can play a role in breaking down these gangs, we absolutely will.”