SIX Indigenous footy players refuse to sing the national anthem during State of Origin Game II
- A handful of indigenous Maroons and Blues players refused to sing the anthem
- Blues stars Blake Ferguson and Josh Addo-Carr remained silent during the song
- Maroons’ Kalyn Ponga, Dane Gagai, Josh Papalii and Will Chambers followed suit
At least six indigenous footy players refused to sing the national anthem during game two of the State of Origin on Sunday night.
The Queensland Maroons and NSW Blues took centre field at Perth Optus Stadium as singer Samantha Jade opened the match with her rendition of Advance Australia Fair.
As cameras panned across the field, several players from both teams remained silent as a sign of solidarity with indigenous people.
Blues centre Blake Ferguson and wing Josh Addo-Carr linked arm-in-arm as they remained silent during the anthem
The players’ protest comes amid claims NRL stars Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker lost their spots in the NSW Blues squad for their refusal to sing along
Maroons fullback Kalyn Ponga, centre Dane Gagai, second-row Josh Papalii and centre Will Chambers were filmed not singing along to the anthem in protest.
Blues centre Blake Ferguson and wing Josh Addo-Carr also followed suit as they were linked arm-in-arm.
The players’ protest comes amid claims NRL stars Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker lost their spots in the NSW Blues squad for their refusal to sing along during the first game of the series.
Seven changes were made to the Blues side for tonight’s game, including the omissions of Walker and Mitchell after below-par performances in the June 5 series opener.
The pair were among at least nine Origin stars who refused to sing the national anthem that night in front of a sell-out Suncorp Stadium.
Many Indigenous players have spoken out on their refusal to sing the anthem saying the song does not acknowledge the country’s Aboriginal history.
After refusing to sing during the NRL All Stars game in February, Walker said Advance Australia Fair ‘doesn’t represent me and my family.’
Following the first game of the series, Indigenous rapper Briggs released a video explaining the issue with the tune by breaking it down by line.
The players’ opposition to the anthem has divided Australians with some supporting the gesture, while others deeming it inappropriate or offensive.
Maroons fullback Kalyn Ponga, who is of Maori descent, was among the players who refused to sing
Second-row Josh Papalii was also captured on cameras staying shut during the anthem
Many Indigenous Australians have spoken out on their refusal to sing the anthem saying the song does not acknowledge the country’s Aboriginal history
During the Acknowledgement of Country delivered by Dean Widders, the Anaiwan Rugby League star closed out his statement by declaring Australia ‘always was and always will be Aboriginal land.’
Earlier this week, multiple players refused to sing during the women’s State of Origin.
Queensland players Brittany Breayley, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Amber Pilley and Rona Peters did not sing, and neither did NSW players Shontelle Stowers, Shakiah Tungai and Takilele Katoa.
The women stood still while their teammates sang the national anthem, with some of the other women bouncing for joy as it neared the end and the game was moments away.
The skipper for the men’s team – Boyd Cordner – said on Friday any player who protested the national anthem had his support, even if he did sing it himself.
‘That’s obviously been a hot topic,’ he said, according to Nine.
‘That’s their views and I support what they believe, if that’s how strongly they believe.’
He said he would support what ever an Indigenous player wanted to do for their culture and if that means not singing, that is fine by him.