Indigenous stars get anthem scrapped
THE national anthem won't be sung before the February 22 NRL All-Star's game between the game's indigenous and Maori stars after a push from a group of senior players.
A day after Latrell Mitchell posted a stirring message to Instagram about what it means to be Aboriginal, the ARL Commission is expected to grant the wishes of the players after the issue was taken up by the game's indigenous advisory council.
The Indigenous All Stars team did not sing the anthem when it was played before last year's game in Melbourne, standing stony-faced with their arms linked.
At the time Walker called for the national anthem to be changed, saying the current song "doesn't represent myself and my family".
NRL immortal Mal Meninga threw his considerable weight behind Walker's call for a change in anthem, citing evolving political and social change as a reason for Australia to go to a referendum on changing the national anthem.
The Australian reported there's "a growing sense of disenchantment among the game's indigenous players in recent months over their treatment in the media, in particular the way Mitchell has been portrayed in relation to his contract negotiations".
MOEROA PICKED FOR TAHS DEBUT
Rugby league convert Tepai Moeroa set to make his Super Rugby debut for the NSW Waratahs against the Blues on Saturday.
A veteran of more than 100 NRL games for Parramatta, Moeroa was signed in the off-season and on Thursday was named on the bench as cover for the centres. Wallabies backrower Jack Dempsey has been promoted to the starting team at No. 8 with Jed Holloway dropping to the bench, while Wallabies prop Harry Johnson- Holmes is back after sickness forced him out of last week's team.
NSW Waratahs: Kurtley Beale, Alex Newsome, Lalakai Foketi, Karmichael Hunt, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Will Harrison, Jake Gordon, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper, Lachlan Swinton, Rob Simmons (capt), Tom Staniforth, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Robbie Abel, Tom Robertson. Res: Damien Fitzpatrick, Angus Bell, Tetera Faulkner, Ryan McCauley, Jed Holloway, Tepai Moeroa, Mitch Short, Jack Maddocks.
BROWN SAYS JOEY'S STILL GOT IT
Parramatta five-eighth Dylan Brown has spent the NRL pre-season in a halves masterclass with NRL Immortal Andrew Johns, but has never seen him play.
The 19-year-old was just six when the legendary Newcastle halfback announced his retirement in 2007, and anyway, Brown grew up a rugby union fan in New Zealand.
Johns, considered by some to be the greatest rugby league player to lace on a boot, has been working on skills with Brown, Mitch Moses and Reed Mahoney as a halves consultant.
But all Brown has for reference are the highlight reels and the slick moves he claims Johns still shows on the training paddock.
"I didn't watch league, I was more into union. I only started watching league when I was about 10," Brown said.
"There's been a few times like that where they've mentioned a few legends, even at my own club, I sort of get embarrassed about that but I wasn't around.
"I still know how significant of a person he is. He's the eighth Immortal. He still moves as if he did in his highlights."
It's a dream learning environment for a young half coming into his second NRL season.
Coming off a frustrating year dealing with a debilitating back injury, Brown has recently signed a three-year contract worth an estimated $2 million to stay at the Eels and chase NRL success.
New recruit Ryan Matterson is leading the charge, joining a five-man leadership group that was announced by the Eels on Wednesday with Clint Gutherson, Mitch Moses, Junior Paulo, and Nathan Brown.