NRL WA – Reconciliation Action Plan & Tracks

The NRL has launched its second elevate RAP during National Reconciliation Week on the beautiful lands of the Gadigal and Bidjigal people. An elevate RAP actively champions initiatives to uphold the self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and drive systemic and transformational change.

Being the first National Sporting Organisation to create a RAP, from its inception, the NRL has maintained a strong connection and a proud history with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities, who have played the game since its early days. Rugby League has served as a platform for the sharing of history, culture, inclusivity, passion, and pride.

To view our elevate NRL Reconciliation Action Plan click here.


What is a RAP?

RAP’s have enabled organisations to sustainably and strategically take meaningful action to advance reconciliation.

Based around the core pillars of relationships, respect and opportunities, RAPs provide tangible and substantive benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, increasing economic equity and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders self-determination. 

For more information about Reconciliation Australia and the Reconciliation movement we encourage you to visit here.

NRL WA Indigenous RAP – 2017 to Now

At NRL WA we have dedicated ourselves to provide tangible and substantive benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, increasing economic equity and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders self-determination, along with educating all participants and supporters of our great game. See below for some history into our recent history with the traditional custodians of the land.

2017 – Harmony Cup Is Born – Indigenous Men’s and Women’s teams are highlighted with the Indigenous Women’s team winning the inaugural competition

  • Executive decision was made to not now allow a team to be called “Australia” rather going for Indigenous & Bushrangers (Colonials) sides.
  • Welcome To Country performed by local indigenous elders and groups every Harmony Cup.

2018 – First NRL WA Indigenous Round Celebrated in Western Australia

2019 – NRL WA Referees Association supports the 2019 National Indigenous Championships by sending 7 referees to the tournament – https://nrlwa.com.au/six-wa-referees-heading-to-dubbo-for-national-indigenous-championships/

  • Male – Brock Midson, Andrew Devene, Byron Devene & Jahriah Getawan (Juru, Badu Island)
  • Female – Juraea Turner, Jasmine Hewat-Lawrence & Mysteque Pepper

2019 – Harmony Cup 3 – Adds WA Pilbara Indigenous side to Men’s Draw – “Kurrsi” created by Mathias and Shak Levi – Who reach the quarterfinals on their first try.

  • NRL Community led by Steve Meredith & Clinton Toopi begin “In League In Harmony” initiatives, with state of mind and indigenous awareness education a cornerstone of Harmony Cup
  • Harmony Cup 3 live streamed/televised across Youtube & SBS Live/NITV

2020 – NRL All Stars – Layna Nona-Busch – Kaanju/Badu Island, is selected by the Indigenous All Stars Women’s team to take on the Maori All Stars.

  • Paves the way for multiple indigenous females from Western Australia to partake in Indigenous All Stars camps.

2020 – Indigenous Presenter’s – NRL WA & LMSC, in conjunction with SBS/NITV, target indigenous presenters and commentators for or NRL WA season

  • 2020 – Brooke Blurton – Noongar-Yamatji – https://youtu.be/jUpn0gQRp1M?si=Sakby3l4_M69hl6r
  • 2021 – Layna Nona Busch  – Kaanju/Torres Strait Islander – Badu
  • 2022-Now – Mitchell Wade-Whalan – Wonnarua
  • NRL WA continues to strive for Indigenous and Female Commentators & Presenters

2020 – Major shift for NRL WA Indigenous Round with huge push from key spokesperson Shauna Narrier (Noongar-Yamatji), creating full Indigenous Round event for Joondalup Giants. Has increased in presence every year by the below ground breakers, which includes non-indigenous as well –

  • Shauna Narrier – Noongar-Yamatji – Joondalup Giants & Alkimos Tigers – 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023
  • Ratehi Hirini – Nyiyaparli – Ellenbrook Rabbitohs – 2020, 2021
  • Kaisha Jetta- Yamatji, Wongi – Fremantle Roosters – 2023 & 2024
  • Robin Keen – Noongar – Mandurah Storm – 2022
  • Seb Derham – Non-Indigenous – South Perth Lions – 2024

2021 – Harmony Cup 5 – With support from NRL WA, Gur Wirimalpa Indigenous side is created by Ratehi Hirina (Nyiyaparli), Jahna Cedar (Nyiyaparli) & Steve Hansen (Ugar Island), and immediately makes a splash in Men’s and Womens division.

  • Off the back of Successful Harmony Cup, Gur Wirimalpa are invited to participate in the Club Albany 9s in 2022, as a community indigenous side.

2022 – Return Of Pilbara ANZAC Challenge – Held in Karratha, by KJRL

  • Different to the Perth ANZAC Challenge, the Pilbara side are called “The Roos”
  • With heavy indigenous concentration of players, more than 50% of the players in the Roos side every year are Indigenous Australian’s, and has had an indigenous captain every year.
  • 2022 Captain – Mathias Levi – Moa, Iama, Besi, Erub Islands
  • 2023 Captain – James Ahmat – Badu Island
  • 2024 Captain – Shaffee Levi – Moa Island

2023 – NRL WA Indigenous Round Includes Junior Indigenous Round for the first time, with Kaisha Jetta – Yamatji, Wongi leading the initiatives.

  • Fremantle Roosters incorporate Womens (Friday), Saturday (Seniors) & Sunday (Juniors) for a whole weekend of celebration of indigenous culture and awareness.
  • This also included a smoking ceremony for the Roosters community at training on the Thursday Night.

2023 – Harmony Cup 7 – Focus is “Back To Our Roots” with heavy Indigenous Australia focus over the weekend

  • Uncle Trevor StackGoolamwiin performs amazing welcome to country ceremony, supported by the Benjamin Family – Badu Island who deliver Torres Strait Islander dancing/performance.
    • Harmony Cup was opened by Premier Roger Cook MLA, and closed by Hon Tony Buti (Minister for Education, Aboriginal Affairs and Multicultural Interests)
  • Tallisha HardenBadu Island & Mabuiag Island and Joel ThompsonNgiyaampaa deliver NRL Indigenous Awareness Training – Grassroots & State Of Mind to Harmony Cup Participants
  • Indigenous Men’s (Natives United) win Harmony Cup 7 after making previous 2 grand finals and being unsuccessful.
  • First ever Female U16s Indigenous team takes part in Harmony Cup

2024 – NRL Conference – NRL WA Staff attend NRL conference at Twin Waters, Sunshine Coast, QLD.

  • RAP Awareness Training – Alanah Scholes – Gamilaroi

2024 – NRL WA Indigenous Round goes to another level with Seb Derham and the South Perth Rugby League Club hosting the largest senior round ever.

  • Access Indigenous as the major sponsor it included First Nations vendors setting up artist and food stalls, face painting, cultural performances and First Nations music going throughout the day.
  • Jersey Designs by South Perth player Renee Smith – Noongar

2024 – Wednesday 10th July – Morning Tea with Women of Westpac and The Youth Network – Indigenous guest speakers who are invited talk about what NAIDOC week means to them and their own background.

  • Kaisha Jetta (Yamatji, Wongi) was invited to speak and shared importance of females in sport and the positive direction NRLWA are heading with inclusive and culturally safe clubs. 

Whats in the future for NRL WA & Indigenous Awareness?

2024 – England Community Lions touring Perth, WA in September

  • Indigenous Awareness Training to be included in their tour
  • Historical awareness of Perth and surrounds, including Wadjemup (Rottnest Island).
  • Playing at Harmony Cup 8 – Where their jerseys are being designed to include an Indigenous component to commemorate their visit.

2024 – Harmony Cup 8 – Largest Ever with approximately 1500 participants, covering over 70 teams, more than 14 cultural and community groups.

  • Indigenous Awareness & Mental Health Sessions to be hosted by NRL Community
  • Indigenous Men’s Team (Natives United) Defending Premiers
  • Push for Indigenous Masters and U16 Boys in 2025, to join the Mens, Womens and U16 Girls.

If you would like to learn more, or be involved please reach out to creedy@nrl.com.au