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Queensland Rugby will host its second annual Indigenous Round contest during the St.George Queensland Reds upcoming Super Rugby fixture against the Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Held as part of National Reconciliation Week, the fixture provides an opportunity to celebrate Indigenous culture and heritage on an international stage and comes after Queensland Rugby successfully hosted Rugby’s first-ever Indigenous Round match in 2012.
Special edition jerseys have again been created for the occasion by Indigenous artist Stephen Hogarth and will be individually signed and then auctioned off to raise funds for the participants and communities involved with the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program.
The program has been in operations for three years now and serves to assist Indigenous communities such as Doomadgee, Mornington Island, Yarrabah, Woorabinda and Cherbourg by offering participants genuine pathways from the classroom through to further career opportunities.
More details and bidding information on the jersey auction will be released on Thursday to coincide with Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie’s announcement of the Reds team to play the Rebels.
“The Indigenous Round was very well received in its inaugural year and our fans showed great support in getting behind the team and embracing the concept,” McKenzie said.
“It’s a really positive initiative for our code and provides a meaningful backdrop to what is also a very important match for us in terms of the Super Rugby competition and our finals aspirations.”
Queensland Rugby Chief Operating Officer David Hanham said the Indigenous Program continues to achieve significant results with the Indigenous Round serving to raise awareness of the work being done with its participants in their communities.
“Since launching Rugby's first-ever Indigenous Round last year, Queensland Rugby has continued to increase its presence within the program’s targeted communities to ensure we are offering meaningful pathways and career opportunities for its participants,” Mr Hanham said.
“Through using Reds players as inspiration and Queensland Rugby Game Development staff as mentors, the program has a pivotal focus on pathways which encourage young Indigenous Queenslanders to stay in school, seek employment and become a leader within their community.
“The Indigenous Round is a great way to showcase the good work being done while also being a further opportunity to celebrate Indigenous culture and heritage during National Reconciliation Week.”
In a new addition to the annual Indigenous Round, Queensland Rugby will in 2013 introduce ‘The Frank Ivory Medal’ to be awarded to the Reds Man of the Match in Saturday’s clash against the Melbourne Rebels and in each subsequent Indigenous Round contest thereafter.
Frank Ivory was the first Indigenous Rugby player to represent Queensland when he debuted against New South Wales at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground on September 2, 1883, a match won by Queensland 11-6 in front of more than 3,000 spectators.
The striking Indigenous art print jerseys worn by the players are just one element to Saturday night's Indigenous Round celebrations with a number of musical and dance performances being showcased in the Suncorp Stadium precinct prior to the game, and on the pitch before kickoff.
Tickets for the Reds and Rebels clash can be secured through Ticketek here: http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/Show.aspx?sh=REDS1613.
Queensland Reds Indigenous Program Key Highlights
• Program completed 31 community visits in 2012 across five Indigenous communities - Doomadgee, Mornington Island, Yarrabah, Woorabinda and Cherbourg
• Yarrabah (1.81%), Mornington Island (5.04%) and Woorabinda (1.17%) all recorded increases in school attendance rates
• More than 2000 Indigenous students participated in Healthy & Active lifestyle activities - Reds Breakfast Clubs, Rookies2Reds, Try Sevens and Ed Rugby
• Record figures posted in the ‘Learn, Earn, Legend!’ program with 95% of participants completing school and 80% now placed in employment or tertiary training
• Queensland Rugby and Mission Australia’s Indigenous Employment Program resulted in 100% of job seekers placed in - and continue to be in - employment
28 MARCH 2017