• Owen Craigie gives a reviews the past week in rugby (NITV)Source: NITV
The NRL is trying to talk the game up, and rightly so. An easy place to start is the great work Aboriginal players are doing within the community, says premiership-winning player and Over the Black Dot co-host Owen Craigie.
By
Owen Craigie

1 May 2018 - 2:11 PM  UPDATED 1 May 2018 - 2:12 PM

The Eels caught my eye on the weekend. Their scrambling defence was excellent and it's great to see Bevan French coming back and scoring amazing tries.

He's taught a great lesson that when things aren't quite going as planned, you've got to keep cracking on.

Their possible return to form could be part of what’s been such a memorable NRL season and it fits within CEO Todd Greenberg's #NRLTalkTheGameUp; his social media call out asking people 'if you love rugby league then talk it up and share your positivity'.

I'll join in. Rugby league's a great game and without the sport we wouldn't be having some great national conversations and doors wouldn't have opened for so many people. People who come from many cultures and countries, different walks of life and different beliefs —that's the beauty about rugby league.

People from so many cultures and so many countries, different walks of life and different beliefs, and that's the beauty about rugby league.

If we want to talk about something positive, the young bloke Jackson Hastings. Have a look at what he's been doing helping homeless people in Sydney with his spare time.

This bloke's been getting a caning the last two or three weeks in the media, but overall he's defying all the odds and adversity, going out helping the less fortunate people and that's important. 

And most importantly, if you want to talk the game up, the NRL has come so far in the Indigenous space. Guys like George Rose and Dean Widders, these guys in there, they're doing amazing things for the game. They're growing the profile, they're opening the door for younger boys and girls to come through and have a crack.

We love rugby league. I've always said: rugby league gives our communities hope of a better life. Not only for the young boys now but for the young girls as well. And the Koori Knockout showcases so much talent.

Aboriginal communities love sport in general and we love seeing people score amazing tries. Players like Bevan French and Greg Inglis, your Shaun Johnsons and your Cody Walkers; the list just keeps going on and on. 

We all sit back in our chairs in our communities, right across the state and right across the country. We're going: ‘Where’s the next young Indigenous super star? Who is he? Where is she?’

Since social media's come in, the game's really cleaned its act up off the field. That's one thing that the NRL and the game should be proud of as well, cleaning up the off-field indiscretions.

Since social media's come in, the game's really cleaned its act up off the field. That's one thing that the NRL and the game should be proud of as well, cleaning up the off-field indiscretions.

There's no need to look any further than the community work that past and present Aboriginal players are doing.

Some of the non-Indigenous boys are donating their time as well. Helping homeless people and doing a lot of work with charities and visiting the young kids in hospital. 

These guys don't have to do it, but they go out of the way. It's all about giving back on and off the field and it's something this game allows people to do.

Owen Craigie: It’s people like Greg Inglis that give other kids hope
A movie should be made about Greg Inglis' story as he is an inspiration to kids everywhere, according to former rugby league player and Over the Black Dot panellist Owen Craigie.

You see the response to the game all over the country. It's a good thing and it's positive. It's something positive that we can all speak about and it's something that we can all see. 

The players are the biggest commodity that the game has and you've got to admire the way some of these players go about doing their things. 

There's still a lot of guys out there that are doing a lot of things that nobody hears about or talk about either.

I don't think a lot of players do it to get the accolades and commotion. They just like to go out of their way and they just like to give back and help the less fortunate people.

For more Owen Craigie and Rugby League hot topics, tune into Over the Black Dot, live tonight at 8.30pm on NITV (Ch. 34). Join the conversation #OverTheBlackDot