- South Sydney Rabbitohs host Wests Tigers on Saturday afternoon in a marquee fixture of the NRL’s Indigenous Round;
- The curtain-raiser will be Redfern All Blacks versus La Perouse United while pre-match entertainment will feature a celebration of Indigenous culture;
- A sub-text of the main match is winger Alex Johnston’s pursuit of Souths legend Nathan Merritt’s try-scoring records;
- Tickets are from $15 (kids), $25 (adults) and $50 (family of 4);
- Memberships & tickets include return travel on Sydney Trains.
No National Rugby League club has a greater link with its Indigenous community than South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Foundation club was formed in 1908 at Redfern Town Hall in the spiritual home of Sydney’s Indigenous community.
The club has has since trotted out such champion Indigenous players as Eric Simms, Greg Inglis and Nathan Merritt.
Today the Rabbitohs are represented by Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker, Dane Gagai, Blake Taafe, Isaiah Tass and Alex Johnston.
Walker says the NRL’s Indigenous round is about representing family.
“It’s about representing our last names, where we’re from, the story lines that are connected through our families.
“It goes on for thousands and thousands of years.
“But it also highlights the wonderful things our people have done in the game of rugby league,” Walker says.
Two of those things are the try-scoring feats of Johnston and Merritt.
Should Johnston score on Saturday afternoon against Wests Tigers in one of the marquee fixtures of Indigenous round, he will equal the number of tries scored at Accor Stadium – a record held by Merritt.
Should Johnston (below) score a hat-trick of tries he will become the greatest try-scorer in Rabbitohs history with 148 tries – a record held, of course, by Merritt.
Wests Tigers, meanwhile, can boast one of the greatest Indigenous names in Australian sport, Arthur Beetson, among their former players, the Immortal running out in 74 games for Balmain Tigers from 1966-70.
Today Brent Naden and Dane Laurie count among the club’s Indigenous stars.
After gates open at 3pm, two of Souths’ feeder clubs steeped in Indigenous rugby league history, Redfern All Blacks and La Perouse United, will play the curtain-raiser from 3:15pm.
La Perouse, known as “La Pa”, boast both Johnston and Merritt as former players, along with such famous names as Simms, Russell Fairfax, Adam Reynolds and Josh Addo-Carr.
The list of Redfern All Blacks, meanwhile, who’ve gone on to bigger things in rugby league includes Inglis, Addo-Carr, Anthony Mundine (and his dad the famous boxer Tony Mundine), Gorden Tallis, Darrell ‘Tricky’ Trindall and Dean Widders a long-time captain-coach and champion of the Indigenous community.
Tickets in most categories are still available for the match from $15 (kids), $25 (adults) and $50 (family of 4) at Ticketek.