This year’s Indigenous Round celebrations at the South Sydney Rabbitohs are shaping up to be the biggest ever with a massive line up of musical artists set to entertain the crowd at Accor Stadium on Wangal/Gadigal land alongside some of the former Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Rabbitohs greats, leading up to the big game between the Rabbitohs and the Parramatta Eels which kicks off at 7:35pm on Saturday 25 May.

The headline performer in the lead up to kick off is world-renowned singer, Coodjinburra artist Budjerah. The two-time ARIA award-winning artist will perform three songs during the pre-game build up including Stranger Love, Therapy (which finished in the top 20 of the Triple J Hottest 100 this year), and a cover of Stomping Ground, which will create a wonderful atmosphere in the build up to the 7:35pm kick off. The winner of the 2021 ARIA award for Breakthrough artist and the 2022 ARIA award for Best Soul/R&B release also won the APRA award for the most performed R&B/Soul work in 2022.

He was nominated for the best single and best new artist at the 2023 Rolling Stone Australia awards and Aussie/Kiwi Legend of the Year award at the 2023 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. In 2022 he also took home the GQ Breakthrough Artist of the Year award, and has teamed up or supported artists such as Ed Sheeran, Post Malone, Kylie Minogue, Tina Arena, PNAU, Cosmo’s Midnight, The Temper Trap, Gretta Ray, Jessica Mauboy and Thelma Plum. To learn more about Budjerah, please visit his website.

Also performing at the match will be The Glen for Men and The Glen for Women who will be performing traditional dances, Brolga Dance Academy and young musician, Tubba Gah/Wiradjuri woman Millie Mills who will be performing at half time of the NRL fixture, plus live didgeridoo performances from Walbunja/Gunai/Dunghutti man Brock Tutt, Minjunbal man Darren Compton, Gamilaraay/ Mandandanji/wiradjuri/Awabakal man Nathan Leslie, Badu Island man William O’Keeffe, Gamileroi/Gumeroi man Kaleb Taylor and Wiradjuri man Joe Horoa, including a performance of Glory, Glory to South Sydney on the didgeridoo as the teams enter the arena.

The Eric Simms Medal will be presented to the player-of-the-match at full time, voted by the past Indigenous Rabbitohs players attending on the night, to be presented at full-time for only the second time by Mr Simms’ children, daughter and Worimi woman Chelsea, and son and Worimi man Nathan.

The Eric Simms Medal pays tribute to one of not only the greatest Aboriginal Rugby League players, but to one of the legendary South Sydney players of all time, Worimi man Eric Simms. Mr Simms played in six Grand Finals for the South Sydney Rabbitohs between 1965 and 1971, winning four Premierships in 1967, 1968, 1970 and 1971, being named the man-of-the-match in the 1968 Grand Final. The goalkicking fullback played 206 first grade games for South Sydney, scoring 23 tries, 802 goals and 87 field goals for a total of 1841 points, a Club record which stood for 46 years.

Mr Simms, Rabbitohs first grade player number 540, was such a prolific points scorer that the New South Wales Rugby League changed the value of a field goal from two points down to one point to try and halt his domination of scoreboards across the league. Mr Simms also played nine Test matches for Australia in 1968 and 1970 and represented New South Wales in 1968.

Past and present Indigenous Rabbitohs players, including Indigenous All Stars representative greats, Wiradjuri man from Waterloo/Redfern Nathan Merritt and Dunghutti woman Nakia Davis-Welsh, will also do a lap of honour before kick off and play a role in passing the Eric Simms Medal to his children in a moving pre-game ceremony. The lap of honour will also feature participants from Souths Cares’ programs, which change people’s lives on a daily basis through their work in the areas of education, health, wellbeing and employment. To learn more about Souths Cares and their incredible work, please click here.

The Welcome to Country will be performed by Aboriginal elder, Uncle Allen Madden. Emcee for the day will be acclaimed Australian actor and presenter on stage and screen, Wiradjuri/Ngunnawal man Luke Carroll.

At half-time of the curtain raising Rabbitohs vs Eels NSW Cup match, the mini-league matches will feature South Sydney juniors teams Redfern All Blacks, La Perouse Panthers and Marrickville RSL.

Rabbitohs corporate partners USANA and Bannershop will be handing out Indigenous-themed TRY cards and flags respectively to Members and supporters as they enter through the gates at Accor Stadium, with Indigenous-themed Rabbitohs merchandise also available including jerseys, training gear, footballs and caps.

The Rabbitohs’ Indigenous jersey for 2024, designed by Wahlabul man Uncle Joe Walker, is a powerful tribute to the ‘warrior spirit’ of all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people as well as showcasing each of the nine Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander full-time South Sydney players’ strength and resilience through their totems and design.

The jersey displays the nine players’ silhouettes in warrior poses, symbolising their resilience and courage on and off the field. Each silhouette features the players’ personal totems, linking back to their cultural identities and responsibilities as proud Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander men.

The top of the jersey features red and green Aboriginal art that is symbolic of traditional meeting places, the importance of coming together as one, and the sharing of knowledge. The inclusion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags on the sleeves further celebrates the diverse backgrounds of the players and their communities.

The Rabbitohs Indigenous players who are featured on the jersey are represented by their silhouettes and totems, as listed below:

The Rabbitohs Indigenous-themed merchandise items are available for purchase by clicking here.

Tickets for the Rabbitohs vs Eels match in Indigenous Round on Saturday 25 May at 7:35pm can be purchased HERE. Gates are set to open at Accor Stadium at 5pm on Saturday.

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