Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
In recent years there have been calls from some to have an Indigenous team included in the Rugby League World Cup.
This concept has been backed by many in our game including the new Indigenous All-Stars head coach Ron Griffiths who recently spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I think it would be great for the game, it would be fantastic to see. They would certainly be a strong team,” said Griffiths.
“If you’re talking about the growth of the game, it would be good for that.
“Other nations like Samoa and Tonga have done so much for the development of the game with all of those players choosing to play for their country of origin.
“Being able to do something a bit left-field like that would be huge for the growth of the game.”
While an Indigenous team in the World Cup would certainly provide the tournament with another contender not everybody agrees that this would be beneficial.
Australian forward Angus Crichton, who has worked in the past with Indigenous communities, has shot down the idea in an interview with Fox Sports as he believes it will cause a bigger rift between Indigenous and white Australians.
The new Indigenous All Stars coach is pushing for the team to participate in the next Rugby League World Cup | @proshenks https://t.co/vMQs6tvR8s
— SMH Sport (@SMHsport) November 16, 2022
“The way I see it, Indigenous Australia and white Australia – I don’t think we need to divide it,” said Crichton.
“I want it to be integrated, I want everyone to get on as one,” he told Fox Sports.
“If we’re having White Australia v Black Australia, then I feel like that’s just making the gap further apart.
“I love representing Australia with my indigenous brothers.
“So I feel like that would be a backward step in my opinion.”
An Indigenous national team could become a reality in the future but for now only two teams are left in the current Rugby League World Cup as Australia will take on underdogs Samoa this weekend in the Final.
The Kangaroos are seeking their third straight tournament win while Samoa are looking to secure the World Cup for the first time.
If Samoa wins the tournament then it will change the landscape of International Rugby League for the foreseeable future, as would the introduction of an Indigenous national team.
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