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NSWRL celebrates Multicultural Round

Rugby League’s diverse mixture of traditions and heritage comes to the fore this weekend when the spotlight is thrown on Multicultural Round.

Apart from Australia and New Zealand, the other countries in the top 10 for where NSWRL players were born include Samoa, Fiji, England, Tonga, the USA, Lebanon, the Philippines and South Africa.

When a snapshot is taken of the 157,000 people involved in the NSWRL – players, coaches, officials and volunteers – they represent 169 different countries of birth.

Multicultural Round will receive prominence as it is now part of the NRL’s Round Three and NRLW’s Round Five list of fixtures. There are 77 NRL players, who have been born overseas (161 with a parent born outside Australia) and 35 NRLW players (34 with an overseas parent).

Within the NSWRL there are 12,796 players with either a mother or father born elsewhere. And there are 5,248 players who were born in another country.

Historically, Rugby League attracted players with English, Irish and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

But now the canvas has changed significantly with the Pacific and Maori heritages (45 per cent in the NRL at present), plus increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander numbers (14 per cent) adding to the broader flavour of Rugby League.

“In many ways Rugby League today reflects our society with the myriad of cultures and backgrounds bringing that joy of diversity to a team environment like we have,” NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said.

“We better understand each other as we celebrate, play and enjoy our game together … the game for all.”

The NSWRL has engaged the Kaiviti Silktails – an all-Fijian team – as part of its Ron Massey Cup competition for the past three seasons.

The QRL has the PNG Hunters in the Queensland Cup which will help increase pathways for more overseas players to compete domestically in Australia.

The door is open for other Pacific nations like Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, to follow suit and start identifying Rugby League talent.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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