Indigenous quartet boycott Australian anthem at State Of Origin game
Cody Walker, Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and Will Chambers say it's not representative of them or their culture
By Blake Welton
Last Updated: 05/06/19 2:43pm
Four players have boycotted the Australian national anthem at the State of Origin game between Queensland and New South Wales.
NSW's Cody Walker, Josh Addo-Carr and Latrell Mitchell as well as Queensland's Will Chambers say, as Indigenous players, it is not representative of them or their culture.
The players claim the line in Advance Australia Fair, "young and free", ignores the country's 60,000-year pre-European Indigenous history.
It follows a decision taken by the Indigenous All-Stars team to remain silent during the song when they took on the Maori All-Stars in a pre-season game in February.
At the time, Walker said: "It just brings back so many memories of what's happened [in Australia's history]. It sort of doesn't represent myself and my family."
The players also have the support of Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans: "Who am I to say what Will Chambers can or can't feel?"
"As the captain of this side I do support my teammates in anything they truly believe in. Will feels strongly about this so as a captain I don't have a problem with it at all."
"Hopefully this sort of stuff does start conversations not just in sports but around the country around what we believe can make this country a better place."
And ahead of the game at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, rugby legend Johnathan Thurston also backed the players calling for a referendum on whether the anthem was suitable and reflective of the whole of the country.
Thurston, the third highest-scoring NRL player ever by points, opened the game with a 'Welcome to Country' speech - a ritual which acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original, and ongoing custodians of Australia.