Credit: Tom Campbell

NRL WA will celebrate Indigenous Round during Round Six of the Smarter Than Smoking Premiership.

It is the first time NRL WA will host a round of this nature, and NRL WA Operations Manager Tony Crowe says the games will be a celebration of Indigenous culture.

“It gives us the chance to recognise the traditional owners of the land and our players with Indigenous heritage,” Crowe said.

“We will celebrate the fact they play our game and are proud of who they represent.”

Crowe says 2018 will be a ‘soft entry’ into the concept but sees the potential.

“We’ve changed all of our social media graphics (to Indigenous themed) and each club will be given footballs they can kick out into the ground on game day,” Crowe said.

“Moving forward we’d like to engage with Indigenous organisations.

“It gives us a great chance to broaden our network among the WA community.”

NRL WA has an on-going relationship with the Noongar Sports and Wellbeing Organisation, who were the Community Connect Partner for the West Coast Pirates’ 2018 SG Ball Cup season.

“We’d like to build a stronger relationship with them both on and off the field,” Crowe said.

Crowe says NRL WA will take inspiration from the success of the NRL’s recent Indigenous Round, and plans to have cultural performances held before kickoffs next season.

“It’s all about game-day engagement with the supporters and the community.”

The round ties in with NRL WA’s commitment to showcasing the many cultures within WA – also displayed through the annual Harmony Nines competition.

The Harmony Nines is a Multicultural Championship first held in February 2017 and is scheduled to take place again in October.

“We didn’t want that to be a one-off thing,” Crowe said.

“It brings the community together.”

NRL WA is proud of the role they play in promoting rugby league within multiple cultures and plans to coincide next year’s Indigenous Round with the NRL’s annual celebration.