After an ugly stand-off between South Sydney Rabbitohs and the League HQ, the NRL has allowed the Bunnies to wear their Indigenous jersey two weeks in a row, starting in Dubbo on Sunday.
The Rabbitohs shared that their 2021 Indigenous jersey is a special collaboration between Uncle Joe Walker, an Aboriginal artist from northern New South Wales and uncle of Bunnies star Cody Walker.
The jersey is also by seven participants from Souths Cares’ community programs: Imogen Grant, Mia Gregory, Tyreece Lyons, Melodey Roberts, Adrian Scanlon, Jayden Simms and Natalie Travato.
“Our history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent that has represented our Club over the years is second-to-none and the work that Souths Cares does, particularly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, is awe-inspiring,” said Souths Cares Director and Rabbits chief executive, Blake Solly.
The NRL was reluctant for any teams to wear their jersey before the official Indigenous Round starting on May 27 because they didn’t want to take away the ‘gloss’ from the round.
Solly said he understands why the NRL wanted to keep the focus on the Indigenous round but is thankful they have made the exception for the round 11 clash.
“Thankfully the NRL management team understood the significance of us wearing this jersey this weekend.”
“This is the first competition game we’ve played in Dubbo, Wellington Aboriginal Health Service are our partners for the game, and Souths Cares are on the ground in Dubbo and the Central West from Monday with their community programs,” he said.
“For all those reasons we thought it made sense to wear this wonderful jersey on Sunday and then again for Indigenous Round.”
The Sunday night blockbuster against the Panthers will also see the return of Latrell Mitchell after his four-week suspension. Mitchell was charged with grade two dangerous contact for his high shot on Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma in the round six clash.
Although Mitchell’s punishment may have also cost him the Dally M medal, he has two rounds to prove that he is fit and ready to make the NSW Blues squad for the State of Origin opener against the Queensland Maroons on June 9.
By Teisha Cloos