Our Rabbitohs players don't just say how important the Indigenous connection to rugby league is but they also live it. Coming up to our Indigenous Round clash with the Wests Tigers, here is a story from our vault.
Rabbitohs forward and The Scots College Alumni, Angus Crichton, spent a week in North East Arnhem Land during the off-season to visit two of his mates from school who are in the Indigenous Education Program.
The Scots College offers 20 scholarship positions with three openings each year in Year 7 as part of their Indigenous Education Program.
“They’ve got a pretty established Indigenous program there that sponsor kids that come from regional Northern Territory and remote areas and get the opportunities to come to Sydney and go to school,” said Crichton.
Inspired by his friends’ culture and strong family bonds, Crichton visited Leon and Delwyn during his time off in October. Leon, moved to Sydney in Year 8 and will be completing school this year while Delwyn, who moved away from home in Year 9, recently completed his Year 12 studies in 2016.
“I was living in the same boarding house with them. Coming from a small country town myself and knowing the difference, a lot bigger change for them but having a big change for myself, I realised how much they were struggling just with simple things, like washing clothes, living away from home, the city itself," Crichton said.
“I had no family up here and knew no one so I took them under my wing a little bit and have been looking after them since I moved down to Sydney.
“They are like my little brothers.
“Looking after them for four years, seeing them grow up so well with a culture that raises such beautiful people, I wanted to go see what was out there. Meeting their family, their cousins, brothers, nieces, and nephews was unreal and the way they looked after me when I was up there was amazing.”
With English being Leon and Delwyn’s second language, the school enrols the students in TAFE Programs giving them the opportunity to have a trade, Delwyn starting an apprenticeship to be a mechanic and Leon starting in plumbing.
“There are not a lot of opportunities for jobs up there," Crichton explained.
“It’s awesome that these guys will have the opportunity to have a trade.”
What stood out for Angus was the connection they have with their families and how welcoming each family member was on his visit.
“I stayed at Leon’s Grandmother's house then at his cousin's place and did what they did, went hunting, swimming, hung out, learning a lot of their culture," Crichton said.
“Their families are so close. I’m pretty family orientated and the way that they took me in up there was just unreal.
“I can’t wait to get back up there again.”
Crichton, with the assistance of Souths Cares, handed out red and green hats, footies and posters to the families he stayed with.
"It was great seeing the little kids running around with red and green hats on."