Eagles fly high and unite the entire community
GOODNA Eagles, take a bow.
What the club is doing with its Indigenous Appreciation Round tonight is truly inspiring.
It is the best of rugby league.
The captain of the team, Ramon Filipine, is of Samoan heritage.
He was a prime mover in honouring a culture that is not his own and getting the special day off the ground (see stories on QT online). He understands what unifies and binds people together - and that is mutual respect.
Indigenous legends in many sports are household names, from Eddie Gilbert in cricket to Lionel Rose in boxing and the one and only Arthur Beetson in rugby league.
My all-time favourite league players are Aboriginal stars of the game; Beetson, Johnathan Thurston, Ewan McGrady, Preston Campbell and Nathan Blacklock.
I grew up in Inverell, in northern NSW, and saw first-hand how a small town like Tingha produced a production line of wonderful Aboriginal players such as Blacklock, Campbell and Owen Craigie.
I marvelled at their skills, and at the play of a team close by - the magical Moree Boomerangs.
McGrady played for the 'Rangs for a while, an Indigenous side which brought me more joy than any other.