This week sees the NRL showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures with the Indigenous round.
Then NRL has adopted a theme called, Pass Back. Move Forward. to highlight the importance of understanding and appreciating Indigenous history and culture in order to build a better future.
I know that the Indigenous players are going to be proud running out in their Indigneous designed jerseys this weekend. A couple of our Indigenous School to Work students were involved in some of the jumper designs. One of them is Wurundjeri, Dja Dja Wurrung, and Ngurai illum Wurrung woman, Ky-ya Nicholson-Ward, who designed the Melbourne Storm Jersey.
Ky-ya's design, called ‘Jindi Worobak’ - which means ‘Join and Unite’ in the Woiwurrung language- also honours Josh Addo-Carr's grandfather, Wally Carr, who sadly passed away last year. It would be an awesome feeling as a player, to not only run out for the Melbourne Storm, but imagine doing it in an Indigenous jersey that also pays respects to a family member on it. I'm sure Josh is going to score a hat trick on the weekend.
Students from the Canterbury area also helped design the Canterbury Bulldogs jersey this week as well. And the Newcastle Kirinari Hostel - where players like myself, Greg Inglis, Tyrone Roberts, and Jesse Ramien went to - have also been involved in doing something as part of the round.
It would be an awesome feeling as a kid coming from the bush, coming to Newcastle and not only supporting your team, but doing something community-based that is part of this round, like designing and painting the players' boots that they're going to be running out onto the field wearing this weekend.
What an awesome week it's going to be for the NRL and the community as well.
It was announced in the course of the past week that David Fifita had signed with the Gold Coast Titans. What a signing it is for them. David Fifita is worth every penny of it too. He's a great young player, powerful, strong.
There has been talk the was lured to the Titans by the influence of big GordonTallis, the Raging Bull, who is not only an ex-Bronco, but former captain of Queensland, and a former Australian player. That's the big thing about ex-players and great 'old boys' being part of a club: they can influence these type of young players, because these kids grow up idolising players like Gordon Tallis.
And David Fifita is not only going to learn a lot from Gordon Tallis, but his signing and his profile going to the club is only going to attract more players, better players, quality players to the Gold Coast.
I can see them being in the top eight and developing into real contenders over the next three years.
The other big signing announcement of the week was Sonny Bill Williams heading to the Roosters. What a great signing.
Sonny Bill Williams is probably the highest profile rugby league and rugby union player in the world. And being at 35, I know that he's going to come back to the NRL and still perform at a high level. People talk about age, but age is nothing when you've got a player of this caliber who has won world cups and grand finals in both rugby union and rugby league.
His presence in just coming to the club is going to take everyone to another level. as I've said before, for the Roosters, you can just see another three-peat happening. It hasn't happened since the Eels took three grand finals in a row in the 1980s, but we could be about to see it again.
Game of the Week
Manly versus the Panthers is going to be a great game. The Panthers are top of the table and they've got a powerful forward pack and just a great backline. Nathan Cleary is starting to hit his straps, but also he's going to be up against another great halfback this week in Daly Cherry Evans.
Then there's the Manly forward pack with Fonua-Blake and Marty Taupau lining up Kikau and Fisher-Harris.
If it goes down to the wire, I can see Manly winning this game. If the Panthers want to walk away with a win from this game, they have to score early points and then try and hold off the Sea Eagles. Either way, it's going to be a great game.