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NRL holds its most important Indigenous Round yet

There has perhaps never been a more important Indigenous Round in the NRL. If nothing else, it has certainly never come at a more pivotal and tumultuous time in Australia's history.

With the Black Lives Matter movement spreading across the world, the 2020 Indigenous Round has taken on extra significance rather than just a momentary recognition of the many First Nations people involved in rugby league.

What separates this year's iteration of Indigenous Round from its predecessors the theme of Pass Back. Move Forward which is aimed at guiding the wider NRL community to appreciate Indigenous history and culture, and to collectively strive for a better future.

More specifically, the NRL is encouraging fans to understand the land in Australia in a similar way Aboriginal Australians do, with all venues and team locations in Round 12 assigned an acknowledgement to local First Nations people.

The SCG, for example, will this week be acknowledged as the home of the Gadigal people and the Newcastle Knights as the home of the Awabakal people.

Traditional welcomes will take place before each game and all 16 clubs will wear commemorative jerseys. The New Zealand Warriors will wear a jersey paying respects to the Maori people.

ARLC Chairman Peter V'Landys this week spoke of the sentiments of the Pass Back. Move Forward. campaign, acknowledging the significance of Indigenous Round amid the current sociopolitical landscape.

"This round and this campaign reminds us all of the need for better awareness of Australia's history to ensure a fairer future for all," he said.

"Thanks to Commissioner Megan Davis, I have spent time listening to a delegation of our Indigenous players. In fact, I was very disappointed with myself for not being aware of the difficulties and challenges they endured.

"I now have a much better understanding of their issues and I was greatly inspired by their passion and commitment in having a voice for their community. I now hope for the greater community to have awareness of their history and culture. We all have a role to play in educating ourselves about the past so that we may embrace a more inclusive future together."

The close affinity between Indigenous Australians and rugby league is well-known, with more than 60 current Indigenous players gracing our game with their passion and undoubted talents. Each of these players have nominated which First Nations people they identify with.

Lists courtesy of NRL.com.au

Indigenous Round games

Dragons vs. Rabbitohs - Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, home of the Bidjigal / Bediagal peoples

Wests Tigers vs. Warriors - Sydney Cricket Ground, home of the Gadigal people

Broncos vs. Sharks - Suncorp Stadium, home of the Yuggera and Turrbal peoples

Roosters vs. Titans - Sydney Cricket Ground, home of the Gadigal people

Cowboys vs. Raiders - QLD Country Bank Stadium, home of the Wulgurukaba peoples

Sea Eagles vs. Panthers - Lottoland, home of the Gayamaygal and Garigal peoples

Bulldogs vs. Eels - ANZ Stadium, home of the Burramattagal and Wangal peoples

Storm vs. Knights - Sunshine Coast Stadium, home of the Kabi Kabi people

Teams

Sydney Roosters - Gadigal people

Canberra Raiders - Ngunnawal people

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs - Bidjigal/Bediagal people

Cronulla-Sutherland - Sharks Gweagal people

Gold Coast Titans - Yugembah people

Manly Sea Eagles - Gayamaygal & Garigal peoples

Melbourne Storm - Wurundjeri people

Newcastle Knights - Awabakal people

North Queensland Cowboys - Wulgurukaba people

Parramatta Eels - Burramattagal people

Penrith Panthers - Darug people

South Sydney Rabbitohs - Gadigal people

St George Illawarra Dragons - Dharawal & Yuin nations

New Zealand Warriors - Aotearoa

Wests Tigers - Dharawal & Eora nations

Brisbane Broncos - Yuggera and Turrbal people

Players

Broncos: Jack Bird (Yuin), David Fifita (Badu Island), Kotoni Staggs (Wiradjuri);

Bulldogs: Adam Elliott (Wiradjuri), Tyrone Harding (Murrawarri), Chris Smith (Lurijta Arrente), Reimis Smith (Wiradjuri & Bundjalung), Isaiah Tass (Yuibera);

Cowboys: Reuben Cotter (Boigu Island), Scott Drinkwater (Wiradjuri), Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Saibai Island);

Dragons: Tyrell Fuimaono (Wiradjuri), Josh Kerr (Quandamooka), Jason Saab (Anaiwan), Tristan Sailor (Erub (Darnley) Island), Jayden Sullivan (Yuin);

Eels: Blake Ferguson (Wiradjuri), Jai Field (Wiradjuri), Will Smith (Gumbaingirr & Wonnarua);

Knights: Edrick Lee (Badu & Moa Islands), Gehamat Shibasaki (Boigu & Murray Islands), Tyronne Roberts-Davis (Bundjalung), Connor Watson (Gamilaroi);

Panthers: Daine Laurie (Bundjalung & Yaegl), Brayden McGrady (Gamilaroi), Glenn McGrady (Gamilaroi), Brent Naden (Wiradjuri);

Rabbitohs: Braidon Burns (Gamilaroi & Wiradjuri), Josh Cook (Bidjigal & Yuin), Troy Dargan (Gumbaynggir), Dane Gagai (Yam & Badu Islands), Alex Johnston (Saibai Island), Latrell Mitchell (Biripi), James Roberts (Bundjalung), Cody Walker (Bundjalung & Yuin);

Raiders: Sebastian Kris, Jack Wighton (Wiradjuri);

Roosters: N/A;

Sea Eagles: Jade Anderson (Wiradjuri), Cade Cust, Reed Izzard, Zac Saddler (Wiradjuri), Joel Thompson (Ngiyaampa);

Sharks: Andrew Fifita (Wiradjuri), Wade Graham (Bundjalung), William Kennedy (Gamilaroi), Jesse Ramien (Wiradjuri), Braydon Trindall (Gamilaroi);

Storm: Josh Addo-Carr (Wiradjuri), Jack Bowyer (Guugu Yimithirr & Olkola), Nicho Hynes (Wiradjuri), Brenko Lee (Argun/Badu);

Tigers: N/A;

Titans: Ryan James (Bundjalung), Brian Kelly (Bundjalung), Tyrone Peachey (Wiradjuri), Jonus Pearson (Hammond Island), Nathan Peats (Biripi), Tyrone Roberts (Bundjalung), Treymain Spry (Badu Island), Corey Thompson (Bundjalung), Ash Taylor (Munanjali & Yuwalaraay);

Warriors: Josh Curran (Darug), Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (Kaurna & Narungga)