‘What Indigenous round means to me’: Kabi Kabi man
The man who will perform the welcome to country in today's blockbuster NRL clash has opened up on what the Indigenous round means to him and his people.
Proud Kabi Kabi man Kerry Neill will showcase cultures of the Sunshine Coast's first nations people in the build up to the match between Melbourne Storm and Newcastle Knights.
It will be followed by traditional dances before the likes of Josh Addo Carr, Kalyn Ponga and Cameron Munster light up Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Mr Neill said he felt privileged to lead the welcome to country on behalf of his people.
"We are really lucky," Mr Neill said.
"The NRL have been really gracious to include Indigenous people here, so we wish them well.
"We welcome them here.
"It follows our old traditions, the old way of visitors coming here and them seeking permission to come here.
"It really shows how far forward the club and the game has come."
Mr Neill said the movement to include Indigenous had started at a grassroots level but was reinforced through the likes of Preston Campbell and Johnathan Thurston.
"With no disrespect to our combined history, the reality is, Aboriginal people have been here for thousands of years, so for the game to acknowledge that this is a celebration not just for Indigenous, but the whole country … showcasing there has been a connection to country for generations and generations, it's such a positive way forward," he said.
"People talk about unity.
"This is how you do it.
"I really want to thank the league and encourage them to continue.
"In times gone by it hasn't been like this."