As traditional place names are being publicly used more often, questions have arisen over the NRL’s decision to use traditional place names for just one round of the season — the league’s Indigenous Round.

Introducing the place names in the draw for the recent Indigenous Round only to stop using the names after one week raised the eyebrows of fans and the wider public alike.

While Australia Post introduced the option for customers to include traditional names to “acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land your item is being delivered on”, and many Indigenous businesses doing the same on all of their branding and packaging, the NRL chose to wind back the measure immediately after the conclusion of the round.

Former NRL referee and proud Aboriginal man Gavin Badger told NIT he believes the NRL talks a lot about supporting Indigenous Australians. He says including place names for all the draws would be a step in the right direction for the league.

“The NRL should definitely use traditional names, the more people see it the more it normalises it,” Badger said.

With 18 years of NRL experience and 354 games of refereeing for the league under his belt, Badger has seen the NRL improve in its celebration of Indigenous culture but believes there is still more to be done.

“The NRL need to become more involved in community, as well as acknowledging and celebrating our culture not only in the Indigenous Round.”

He also commented on recent questions to the NRL about not using Indigenous companies as sponsors for the Indigenous Round, and believes the NRL should help promote them.

“The NRL should have a list of Indigenous suppliers that are of similar coatings to those that they use and where possible utilise their services as well as help promote those businesses,” he said.

Further support for this push to the NRL has been shown by Rachael McPhail, the Gomeroi woman who campaigned for Australia Post to include traditional place names on postage.

The NRL’s one draw moment has been labelled as tokenism and highlighted that it would be a simple action to include traditional place names in all draws.

The NRL told NIT they are working towards having traditional place names as a permanent feature on their website.

By Teisha Cloos