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Staggs' totems take centre stage

Broncos star centre Kotoni Staggs wears his family on his sleeve.

The Goanna tattoo that sits proudly on his right forearm represents his Wiradjuri side of the family – and he is immensely proud.

It is why the Broncos indigenous jersey he helped create with teammate Albert Kelly means so much.

The goanna features heavily on the design, next to his other family totem – the ringtail possum.

“I represent my culture and family every time I play, but this is a special time to wear the jersey,” Staggs said.

“The Goanna is my Wiradjuri side of the family and I have that tattooed on my arm, it’s a big part of me and where I come from and who I am today and what I stand for.

“The ringtail possum is the other side of my family and it’s important to acknowledge them and pay respects to both sides of the family.”

Staggs grew up in Wellington in the central western slopes region of New South Wales, dreaming one day he’d make it to the NRL.

 
 
 
 
 
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He idolized local heroes Blake Ferguson and Tyrone Peachey who had themselves made the journey from the small country town to the dizzying heights of the NRL.

He has never forgotten his link with the region or the power of his actions.

The town's postcode also sits prominently on his arm. 

“When I go back home, not many people used to watch the footy or the Broncos living in NSW,” he said.

“I get a lot of people now pull me up and say we only watch the Broncos because you are playing.

“It’s important not to forget where we come from.

“Growing up there were a few NRL players where I was from, I remember as a young kid going to the games, wanting autographs.

“I’m proud what I’m doing today for my family and community, that the younger generation coming through are looking up to me and I’m trying to set a good example for them, and hopefully whatever dream they want to achieve in life, they can.

“I want to leave everything out on the field, the indigenous round is special to all of us."

The 23-year-old will don special Asics boots painted by Flagstone State Community College student Eliza Hillam, a student in the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy program, when he takes on the Titans at Suncorp Stadium.

He said the round was all about education.

“We have a fair few indigenous boys in the team – to be able to recognize our culture – even if you are not aboriginal - everyone gets involved, we are one big family at the Broncos.

“I get super happy for this round.

“A really important part of indigenous round is educating Indigenous and non-indigenous players and people, even myself, I’m still learning about my culture.

“It’s good in these times to sit down with our elders and family and learn about who are as people. We are all one at the Broncos community, we want everyone to learn about this culture.”

Pre-order the 2022 Indigenous jersey. 

Secure your tickets to Indigenous Round to watch the Broncos take on the Titans. 

More about the jersey

“Shared Dreaming” - by Casey Coolwell-Fisher. Quandamooka - Nunukul

Our Dreaming is our spirit and soul returning to our people, land, sea and sky, in either animal or plant form.

 This artwork represents people from all different nations/tribes finding one another, through the navigation of our stars, to celebrate, share knowledge and be one.

The animals represent our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players of the NRL + NRLW Brisbane Broncos.

Each animal was chosen by the players to represent who they are and their Ancestorial ties to their land, sea, skies and people.

All the animals wear the same art to show they are coming together as one, with spirits of their Ancestors on their back, through the dot work.

Each animal is facing in the direction of their travels into Brisbane.

The scattered Stars represent our navigation system our Ancestors used for directions and storytelling.

The Shield represents protection over all who bear it and the Boomerangs represent strength and power.

The artwork that features on the bottom of the sleeves represent the passing of our loved ones, watching over us, through the movements of their footprints, calmness of the leaves and toughness of the shells.

The background artwork depicts the curves and flow of our lands, mountains, hills, waters, riverways and skies.

The dots throughout the background are footprints being made for our future generations.

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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