It’s late afternoon in Sydney’s west and a crowd is gathering to watch the NSW Blues play.
But this crowd – men in evening suits, women cocktail dresses, children in bowties -- haven’t come to watch NRL.
“We are called the NSW Blue Warriors. It’s a complete rip-off from the NSW Blues, the rugby league team,” says Dor Achiek, President of South-Sudanese wrestling club NSW Blues.
“It’s AFL and NRL in Sudan,” says a fan.
“Back home we wrestled in tribes and in states, but here we’re doing it as club,” says Dor.
And back home, wrestlers wear animal fur and coat their skin in ash. But here, they use faux leopard print and talcum powder instead.
The aim is for one man to pull another man to the ground within three minutes. Today the NSW Blues are going head-to-head with the Melbourne Lions.
“Wrestling is just tactics, put someone down, smartly, not aggressive, no punches, no kicks or anything,” says Dor.
The 2013-2015 South Sudanese Civil War displaced 2.2 million people and saw the creation of the world’s youngest country, South Sudan. It also gave rise to a growing population of South-Sudanese Australians.
But many young Sudanese men who came to Australia have struggled to find their way – they feel disconnected from their traditional culture and outsiders in their new home.
“Kids who grow up [in Australia] today … some of them do not know what being Dinka is,” says Peter Tong, NSW Blue Captain.
He hopes wrestling will bring young people and cultures together.
“We’re going to show Australia that [wrestling] is a positive culture and it always makes our people happy.”