When it comes to Indigenous heritage, Timana Tahu has always worn his heart on his sleeve.
Whether it be playing for his people or going out of his way to honour them, Tahu is particularly proud of where he comes from.
This passion is set to go to another level on Friday when Tahu coaches the Newcastle Yowies in the Inter-State Challenge against the QLD Murri champions the Southern Dingoes at Newcastle's No.2 Sportsground.
It's a special occasion for the veteran, who will continue a family tradition some 20 years old by mentoring the Yowies.
You see, Tahu's wife Kasey's grandfather is the founder of the Newcastle Yowies Sports Club and it's with great pride that the Knights' star has the opportunity to carry on his legacy.
"It’s a big thing for me and especially for my pop Jimmy Wright," Tahu explains.
"He is my wife Kasey's pop and he started the Newcastle Yowies, which is more of a sporting club.
"We’ve got a cricket, touch, netball and rugby league team and Jimmy is the chairman.
"So it’s a family team and I’m proud to continue the tradition."
Tahu has been captain coach of the Yowies for the past six years, but his association with Aboriginal Knockouts dates back to the late 90s.
In fact, the Knights' flyer first started playing in Indigenous carnivals back in 1997 when he was just 16-years-old.
"I remember being a bit nervous playing against men," he recalls with a smile.
"But I learnt the hard way and it probably helped me with my skills to become the player I am today."
Flash forward some 16 years and Tahu is far from the nervous rookie.
Now very much a senior player who has represented Australia in both league and union, he has used all his experience to help steer the Yowies to back-to-back Koori Knockout titles.
As NSW champions, Tahu's Yowies will now take on the QLD Murri Knockout winners to determine the strongest side in the country.
"It’s a big game, because Aboriginal knockouts are prestigious," he enthuses.
"You have 60 teams playing over three days and you come through and win, I can tell you it’s a special feeling.
"It’s like our Origin, so it's tribal warfare because you are playing for pride in your jersey and where you’re from.
"That’s why the boys are looking forward to the match.
"They've been training for the last couple of weeks and they've been putting in the commitment, so everyone is pretty pumped for a big game."
To catch Tahu’s Newcastle Yowies in action against the QLD Murri winners, make sure you head to No.2 Sportsground on Friday night for a 6pm kick-off. Entry is free.
Then on Saturday, the festival continues at Hunter Stadium. CLICK HERE for ticketing details, gates open at 3pm, the Knights play the Goannas' at 7pm.