Eagerly anticipating his first-grade recall, season 2016 is the year of redemption for Wentworthville Magpies hottest new recruit Yileen Gordon.
The Wests Tigers sensationally sacked him in 2014 before playing a game following a cloudy incident where he allegedly penned a derogatory term when signing in on a school visit on the club’s behalf.
His promising short 71-game career was immediately halted, and while he shows obvious remorse over what happened, he aims to put it all behind him in his quest to pull on an NRL jersey again.
“I really regretted [the incident] and I wish things didn’t go the way they did - I’ve moved on from it now,” Gordon said.
“I thought I was treated a bit harshly, but it was a lesson learned and I’m putting my best foot forward and trying to play some good footy.
“[Playing NRL is] all I want to do, that’s why I’m still playing…if I can get a handful of games in the next two to three years I’ll be happy.”
Gordon is no stranger to VB NSW Cup clubs, having played for Newtown, Wyong and now Wentworthville since 2013.
He has adjusted quickly to the Magpies setup, and cannot wait for the 2016 season to begin.
“It’s been a hot pre-season which I’ve enjoyed and I’m looking forward to getting into some footy soon,” Gordon said.
“[Wentworthville] is closer to home than Wyong and the blokes here are pretty good…the coach Joe Grima has come in and made things really easy, it’s been a good transition.
“I’ve been training well and I’m back to a decent playing weight…it’s the lightest I’ve been in a while, so I’m happy. If I start the season well, I can’t see why I won’t be playing first grade again in the next year or so.”
Two of Gordon’s most significant achievements is scoring the winning try in the 2008 Indigenous Dreamtime versus New Zealand Maori game, along with representing the 2010 Indigenous All Stars team at Skilled Park.
“As an Aboriginal person, [the All Stars game] was good,” Gordon said.
“[I am a] very strong ambassador for Aboriginal people in Rugby League, and [those games] were above and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before football wise - it’s something that I’ll cherish.”
He prides himself on being an Indigenous ambassador so much that he spent 2012 working at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, in which he educated Indigenous youth on healthier meal choices, as well as promoting anti-smoking campaigns.
“It was [fulfilling] because I grew up in the community, it’s in Redfern,” Gordon said.
“I’m a Redfern and Waterloo boy and it’s good to give back to the community, help people and nurture through the next generations of Aboriginal youth.”
Gordon became the first player to represent the NSWRL Indigenous Under-16s team and go on to play in the NRL.
The current NSWRL Indigenous Under-16s team annually competes for the Yileen Gordon Medal, in honor of his historic achievement.
The NSWRL Indigenous Under-16s are playing this Saturday at Kogarah Oval against the West Australian Pirates at 12:30pm for the Yileen Gordon Medal, lead by coach Ian Naden and have a very strong medical and training support staff headed up by Michael ‘Poppy’ Barlow.