The Gold Coast Bulletin

Titans’ jersey one for the wall

- CALLUM DICK

AN away trip to play Cronulla in Coffs Harbour on May 30 will mean more than just two competitio­n points to Gold Coast captain Jamal Fogarty.

For the proud Mununjali man from Beaudesert, the NRL Indigenous Round clash with the Sharks rates as another high watermark in his rugby league career.

In just his 12th career start Fogarty played in his first Indigenous Round last year, against the Roosters.

That jersey takes pride of place in his gym at home, framed and hung alongside the one he wore in his 2017 Titans debut.

Space remains for his All Stars jersey from earlier this year and, win, lose or draw, this season’s indigenous jersey will also make its way on to the wall.

“I like to frame the jerseys that mean the most to me and keep them safe at home – those are definitely up there,” Fogarty said.

The NRL Indigenous Round, traditiona­lly set aside for Round 12 each year, has become one of the biggest on the annual rugby league calendar.

It highlights the importance of understand­ing and appreciati­ng indigenous history and culture within the game and broader community.

“I think it’s one of the best concepts the NRL has come up with,” Fogarty said.

“We get to represent our culture and our people and we’re very proud of that.

“We have such great cultures within our game. All Stars is one concept to celebrate two strong cultures (indigenous and Maori) and the Pacific Islanders have their mid-season Test.

“Coming from a small indigenous community and watching Presto (Campbell Preston) and the boys run out … 10 years later I’m taking part.

“Representi­ng the Titans last year in Indigenous Round (and playing in the All Stars game) are my highest achievemen­ts in rugby league so far, from a little boy to where I am now.”

This year’s Titans Indigenous Round jersey was designed by student Ashleigh Banks from Mabel Park State High School at Slacks Creek.

Fogarty visited the school’s indigenous Year 11 and 12 students to meet them during the design process and said that connection between club and community was important.

“I think our club does the best community work,” he said. “To be able to get some young indigenous leaders in the community to put their thoughts into the jersey and mingle with our indigenous players I think is a great incentive and experience for everyone involved.

“Hopefully we can keep it as tradition and keep the community involved in what our jersey looks like.”

Ashleigh said her design represente­d “the players not just coming together as Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal players but as a family”.

“They walk proudly on to the field each and every game carrying their culture on their backs,” she said.

“The mixture of blues represents the Torres Strait Islander players and the sandy tones represent Aboriginal players, with both coming together to represent the Titans as one.”

 ??  ?? Jamal Fogarty.
Jamal Fogarty.

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