Grassroots vital for indigenous rugby: Beale

By Adrian Warren,

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35 Have your say

    Kurtley Beale hopes a special jersey will provide the inspiration that will boost the disappointingly small number of indigenous Wallabies.

    Australia will wear an indigenous jersey for the first time in their final Bledisloe Cup Test of the year, against New Zealand in Brisbane, on October 21.

    Describing himself as a very proud indigenous man, an emotional Beale said it would be an unbelievable feeling to wear the jersey if selected for the match.

    “The ARU have helped us take that next step forward so we can start to be recognised and hopefully at the end of the day it’s a step towards reconciliation,” Beale said.

    With 60 Test appearances, Beale is the most capped of the 14 indigenous players to have represented the Wallabies.

    That number pales in comparison to the plethora of indigenous stars in some of Australia’s other football codes.

    “Obviously it’s pretty disappointing,” Beale said.

    “I love sport in Australia and to be able to see a lot of indigenous players in the AFL and league, you kind of wonder what’s going on.

    “But I think where we can really get involved is at the grassroots level.

    “This is a great step forward because there’s going to be a lot of young indigenous kids out there, to be able to see this jersey being displayed at Bledisloe game three.

    “Hopefully now that can influence them to play our game.

    “It’s a great game and if we can start from the grassroots I think we’ll be in good stead for an opportunity for them to come and play our game.”

    Australian sevens representative and Wallaroos World Cup squad member Mahalia Murphy views taking the game to new areas as key to getting more indigenous players involved in the code.

    “I think that if we just continue introducing our sport into areas and other communities then I think that’s where we can get the participation numbers up,” Murphy said.

    Beale revealed he had some indigenous rugby idols of his own when he was growing up.

    “I’ve looked up to the Ella brothers and I think one special one that I relate to is Andrew Walker, who was pretty deadly when he played the game,” Beale said.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (35)

    • July 18th 2017 @ 9:54am
      Lostintokyo said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

      Too right about Andrew Walker, and another Lloyd Walker was leathal too, with ball rather than feet.

      Good to see Beale caring about the cause of having more indigenous rugby players. Imagine if the Beetsons and the Thurstons had played union instead of league.

      The Ella brothers were instrumental in getting Beale to play union, Glen in particular. Hope Beale can play a role too in attracting more talented indigenous players. Glad to hear he is thinking in that direction.

      • July 19th 2017 @ 1:35am
        Riddler said | July 19th 2017 @ 1:35am | ! Report

        If my ordinary memory serves me right Tokyo, Lloyd was the last person to displace noddy from the 10 jersey..

        Was a test at Ballymore in the late 80’s.. i was at the game with some school mates, whose old fellas had season tickets..

        Lynagh was dropped for the only or one of a couple times in his career..

        But he was reinstated the following test..

    • Roar Rookie

      July 18th 2017 @ 10:40am
      piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

      Cough Matt Hodgson cough

      • July 18th 2017 @ 11:22am
        Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        Your point piru?

        • Roar Rookie

          July 18th 2017 @ 12:54pm
          piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

          We’re talking about indigenous role models mate, try and keep up

          • July 18th 2017 @ 6:42pm
            Ken Catchpole's Other. Leg said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

            No need to respond that way Piru.
            It was a fair question.
            FWIW it seems that you and I are on the same side of this issue.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 19th 2017 @ 2:01pm
              piru said | July 19th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

              Sorry that read nastier than I intended

              my apologies

      • Roar Guru

        July 18th 2017 @ 11:22am
        Hoy said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        For whatever reason, he is very unfashionable… I can’t tell why…

      • July 18th 2017 @ 11:44am
        ajg said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

        just part of the perennial ignoring of WA by the ARU

      • July 18th 2017 @ 2:41pm
        EnoughisEnough said | July 18th 2017 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

        Agree, Hodgson would be a far better role model than Beale.
        Is there any doubt Beale will be straight into the Wallabies at 12?

    • July 18th 2017 @ 11:59am
      Jock M said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      The Ella brothers didn’t need a special jersey and Mark even captained Australia.
      Identity politics at work.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 18th 2017 @ 12:08pm
        piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        Were they offered one?
        Or just expected to take what the white fellas graciously gave them?
        As long as they kept winning games for them, anyway…

        Mainstream Australia’s relationship with it’s first peoples is horrific, any kind of recognition is better than none, and this immediate urge to shutdown any indigenous initiative or recognition is counterproductive in the extreme.

        Rugby has a real opportunity to make a difference and this is one small way it can do so. Look at the way teams like the Chiefs and the Warriors embrace their indigenous connections, it makes them stronger – no reason Aussie can’t do the same.

        The Welcome To Country that’s been instituted is another great step – really enjoyed the old fella that welcomed the Force and Rebels to Nib on behalf of the N’yoongar’s speech.

        • July 18th 2017 @ 6:43pm
          Ken Catchpole's Other. Leg said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

          Agree with all points piru.

          I have often thought that Matt Hodgson is the type of player the Wallabies could have built a culture around.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 12:32pm
        Perthstayer said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        Jock M

        In 2016 there were 74 registered indigenous players in AFL. I cannot find the total NRL figures other than 20% of the 77 2016 draft were indigenous players.

        If union had 20-25 indigenous players we’d not be in the mess we are. 4-5 per SR team is a 15% increase in squad size.

        Who gives a rats what efforts have been made before, they haven’t worked.

        • July 18th 2017 @ 1:04pm
          Jock M said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

          Doubt it Perthstayer- the game has bigger problems than that.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 1:06pm
        Sage said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

        More like small mind at work, JockM.

        I’d like to know what the Hodgo reference meant too Piru. If you’re insinuating he was “overlooked” due to his aboriginality I call total BS.
        The rest I totally agree with and well said.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 18th 2017 @ 1:26pm
          piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

          No, I was just adding his name to the list of indigenous players Lostintokyo had given.

          I didn’t even know he was indigenous until fairly recently

          • July 18th 2017 @ 6:51pm
            Ken Catchpole's Other. Leg said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

            How about this piru- I was unaware of Hodgson’s heritage too.

            But how about this – watching the telecast last weekend, the camera flicked over to his Dad. Reference was made to his name,
            Max. I knew his face. I looked him up on Facebook. Yes. Matt’s Dad is married to the sister of a girl I went out with as a teenager. Wouldn’t have seen the guy for 40+ years. But his face was so familiar.
            He was a few years ahead of me at a school near mine, before I ever played grade, and developed this rugby obsession.
            Well done Matt. Well done Max.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 19th 2017 @ 2:02pm
              piru said | July 19th 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

              What are the odds!

              He was a very proud man on Saturday and rightfully so, both he and his boy were a bit teary.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 6:59pm
        Ken Catchpole's Other. Leg said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

        Jock, it seems that you and I have a different understanding of ‘need’.

        Your words btw are revealing an ‘identity’ also.
        Have you noticed that NZ and SA have strong indigenous culture that flows into a strong rugby culture?

        Have you noticed that indigenous participation in AFL and NRL boosts player and talent options massively in those codes?

        • July 19th 2017 @ 5:01am
          Jock M said | July 19th 2017 @ 5:01am | ! Report

          Ken Catchpole’s other leg.
          Okay- well should we consider having quotas for every ethnic group?
          We need to be seen to be fair on this.
          Or could we divide the Wallabies up on skin colour?

          • Roar Rookie

            July 19th 2017 @ 2:05pm
            piru said | July 19th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

            Fair is a very relative concept when you want to compare white kids from private schools in Sydney with disadvantaged indigenous kids.

            Until all the kids get the same support and chances, talk of ‘fairness’ is just silly

    • July 18th 2017 @ 1:31pm
      Onside said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

      When the Ella’s played , they were Aboriginal . Now they are indiginous.

      I realise the term Aboriginal and Indiginous are synonymous, but the title
      Aboriginal has got more grunt,and is more historically emotive in my book.

    • Roar Guru

      July 18th 2017 @ 3:17pm
      John R said | July 18th 2017 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

      Could be permanent, which would be awesome.

      I can’t understand why we aren’t doing a ‘Kurtley’ more often. i.e. plucking League kids out of the West.

      League clearly don’t have a problem with poaching our guys. So why not dangle the scholarship education/international pathway in front of some of the parents of the league kids?

      • July 19th 2017 @ 3:57am
        Londoner said | July 19th 2017 @ 3:57am | ! Report

        As a englishman I am amazed to hear only 14 indigenous players have pulled on the Oz jersey…

        Surely this can’t go on, if Oz want to be winners at the elite level on a more regular basis.

        Why isnt there an indigenous team like the Maori have?

        This probably says alot of bad things about eliteism in Oz RU…..

        • July 19th 2017 @ 5:03am
          Jock M said | July 19th 2017 @ 5:03am | ! Report

          One other question – has there ever been a ban on any ethnicity playing for the Wallabies?

          • July 19th 2017 @ 11:35am
            Perthstayer said | July 19th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report


            The theme of your comments seems to be along the lines of special treatment, and the lack of justification for it. I imagine/hope you might see the advantages of more indigenous folk playing union. If that is the case then if there is to be no proactive approach then is it your opinion that the status quo should continue?

            BTW If you don’t hope for more indigenous players then it’s probably best that is stated and I can move on with my life. But I am fairly sure this isn’t the case.

          • July 19th 2017 @ 3:18pm
            Bakkies said | July 19th 2017 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

            Jock M finally you ask a good question. The Aus Cricket team had selected Aborigines to go on tour but that was well before Australia implemented Aus Citizenship in the late 40s and the White Australia Policy.

        • Roar Guru

          July 19th 2017 @ 8:10am
          John R said | July 19th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

          It’s quite a baffling statistic isn’t it?

          I really don’t have the answers as to why that is. But I hope that turns around. As the article says, there’s plenty of players in the AFL and NRL.

          Just not so many in rugby.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 19th 2017 @ 2:05pm
            piru said | July 19th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

            It’s more than baffling

            it’s disgraceful

            • Roar Guru

              July 19th 2017 @ 2:07pm
              John R said | July 19th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

              No arguments here. And from a performance perspective, just missing out on so many potential elite athletes!

              • Roar Rookie

                July 19th 2017 @ 2:12pm
                piru said | July 19th 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

                100% – imagine how the Aussie game might look if it had had a good dose of homegrown Aboriginal athletes through the years.

    • July 19th 2017 @ 12:40pm
      Jock M said | July 19th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

      Having a racist program won’t achieve much and Rugby’s issues run much deeper anyway.

      • July 21st 2017 @ 6:17am
        Ken Catchpole's Other. Leg said | July 21st 2017 @ 6:17am | ! Report

        Jock, no one is talking about a quota system.

        Couldn’t you build a straw man around another issue and knock it down?
        We get you don’t care for indigenous encouragement. Stay in your small world view and please be quiet.
        The grown ups are discussing an important issue.

        • July 21st 2017 @ 12:04pm
          Jock M said | July 21st 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

          I care for encouragement of all and not a race based approach.
          That only serves to divide people.
          If you go back through my blogs you find that I have predicted Rugby’s demise for quite sometime Catchpole so it may pay to listen to other views.
          Rugby has lost its way..

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