The Batemans Bay Boars held their second Indigenous Round on Saturday, July 7 to commemorate the strong Indigenous community within the club.
Boars president Matt Ryan said it was an easy decision to hold the round again this year.
“Last year was a big occasion for us,” he said. “It was our inaugural year, and a bit of a test to see what worked and what didn’t.
“We found a lot of it did work, so we carried that over to this year with the support of Mary Mead.
“They (Mary Mead) approached us last year, and I guess rugby league has a good tradition with their Indigenous Rounds, and the question was put to us as to why don't we don't do the same.
“We have a really proud and rich indigenous influence on the club, so why wouldn't we look to promote that.”
The day started with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, as well as traditional dancing led by Boars’ player Max Harrison.
There were then two junior matches and a ‘golden oldies’ match before the main event at 2.30pm.
Ryan said the dancing was particularly special.
“It's something we're not probably exposed to enough,” he said. “I'd like to see more of it be honest.
“For them, without speaking on their behalf, to come back to your local club and community and show your cultural side must be a great feeling.”
One of the features of the day was the Boars’ Indigenous jersey designed by Ashbee Reid.
The boys are all stoked, they’ll hold that jersey with pride for many years.Boars president Matthew Ryan
“Last year he was a bit conservative, but this year he had a bit more of a free reign,” Ryan said. “Ashbee wanted to make it really special, and make it stand out.
“The boys are all stoked, they’ll hold that jersey with pride for many years.”
Indigenous Rounds are starting to become more common in the rugby union sphere, with the Boars already committed to holding another one next year.
“From all reports, Mary Mead will be on board again next year, and we’ll make it happen however we need to, because it’s important,” Ryan said. “You’ve just got to watch the Wallabies last year when they wore their Indigenous jersey, and how it’s flowed down to a national level.
“On the back of ours last year, Bungendore held their Indigenous Round this year, and by all reports it was a success as well.
“Hopefully it’s something that spreads throughout the zone and we get to see more cultural dancing and Welcome to Countrys.”
We’re conscious that we have a strong Indigenous background, and they really need to feel welcome, which shows in days like today.Boars president Matthew Ryan
Ryan said the Indigenous community always had a massive impact on the Boars’ club.
“I’ve been involved in the club now for 18 years, and it hasn’t ever been any different,” he said. “A lot of the blokes I looked up to as players back then were Indigenous.
“We’re conscious that we have a strong Indigenous background, and they really need to feel welcome, which shows in days like today.”