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Club delays Indigenous Round to coincide with NAIDOC Week

The Central Charlestown Junior Rugby League Football Club is hosting its annual Indigenous Round this weekend – six weeks after the rest of the Rugby League world – for a couple of reasons.

While both the NRL and NSWRL celebrated First Nations people and footballers in Round 12 in May, the Central Charleston committee has struck out on its own.

It’s only the second year the Butcher Boys-Butcher Bird clubs have organised the event, but in 2023 they wanted it to coincide with NAIDOC Week (2-9 July) as well as linking all matches from Under 6s to Under 17s on the same day.

On Saturday 1 July, all 24 Central Charlestown teams totalling 330 players will play at their home ground, St John Oval. Eight visiting clubs will also take part bringing around 600 juniors together. 

Gabinya Miyay dance company
Gabinya Miyay dance company

“It will be bigger than last year and we appreciate NSWRL helping us out by moving the draw around a little bit so we could get all our teams at home,” Central Charlestown secretary Vikki Dickinson said.

Two other parents at the club are playing a significant role in the day through the design of the special jerseys and the on-field entertainment.

“Last year we had the jersey designed by our seniors and around the numbers on the back we added all the tribes of our junior players,” Dickinson said.

“We thought that personalised it nicely.

Courtney Campbell's artwork for the Indigenous Round jersey
Courtney Campbell's artwork for the Indigenous Round jersey

“This year we had one of our mums Courtney Campbell, who is one of our team managers with her three children playing at the club, paint a beautiful canvas that we’ve transformed into a jersey.

“One of our dads, Randall Briggs, brings his dance troupe ‘Gabinya Miyay’ to give us an Indigenous ceremony. They will invite players from our club and the visiting teams to dance with them.

“It is such a special day to honour all of the generations and families together, especially our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders.

“We’ve been growing year on year as a club after the Juniors were established in 1966. And now our Indigenous Round celebration is also getting bigger and bigger.”

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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