Origin stars give hope to our Indigenous kids
RUGBY LEAGUE: Through his work with social futures program Youth On Track, South Grafton Rebels leader Grant Stevens has met plenty of kids in need of a role model.
Professional sport is one area that kids turn to the most, and with the State of Origin stage flooded with potential heroes, it is one of the first places kids will look.
Which is why Stevens believes it is great this season to see such a rich representation of rising indigenous talent.
Queensland has had a dominant decade of indigenous involvement with Johnathon Thurston, Greg Inglis and Justin Hodges all flying our first nations flag with pride.
But this season the Blues have caught on, with high-fliers Josh Addo-Carr, Tyrone Peachey, Latrell Mitchell and James Roberts all representing their indigenous nations with respect and pride.
"A lot of young people will look up to these guys because they are exciting to watch," Stevens said. "To see an indigenous man perform so well at the top level it is a great thing for our people and for the young generation growing up.
"Plus three of the guys are from the country. James Roberts was born in Kempsey, Latrell Mitchell was born and raised in Taree, and made it to the top from the bush.
"That proves to kids in this area that starting out with a club like the Rebels or the Ghosts could be a stepping stone towards the top."
To honour the proud indigenous history of Origin, News Regional graphic artist Shannan Bishop designed a unique poster which features the modern Indigenous stars of Origin.
Miss Bishop is a proud Gunggari woman from Mitchell, Queensland, who also has connections to Wakka Wakka and Gubbi Gubbi land.
"I was inspired to do this poster because it combines three of my favourite things, my culture, art and State of Origin," Miss Bishop said.
"The symbols I used for this artwork include concentric circles, wavy lines and straight lines. Concentric circles represent campsites, waterholes or a place of significance. Wavy lines represent water or rain and straight lines represent ways of travelling.
"When the lines join to the concentric circles in this artwork, it shows the pathway travelled by the ancestors, which ties back to State of Origin. Arthur Beetson captained Queensland in the first Origin game back in 1980, who inspired the many indigenous players who have played State of Origin since then."
Pick up your commemorative poster inside tomorrow's edition of The Daily Examiner.