Jaelen Feeney is a trailblazer for Newcastle Knights Under 20s, not only is he a leader on the field but is proving to be a great front-runner off the field as well.
This week Feeney, who is a Learning Support Officer at Hunter Sports High School, along with the Newcastle Knights organised a day to celebrate and promote the NRL's Close the Gap Round.
The primary goals of the round are to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and also to help tackle Indigenous health inequalities.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous players from the Knights attended Hunter Sports High to inspire and encourage the children of the school to get behind the cause of this weekend.
Indigenous artist Daren Dunn of the Kamilaroi tribe was also on hand to share his thoughts on the campaign and to teach the boys a few things about the culture.
“We are actually closing the gap here today by educating the students about our culture,” said Dunn.
“It’s a big thing for the NRL to be involved in and I blessed to be involved as well.”
Dunn also offered to design a few of the players boots as part of Close the Gap Round that is happening this weekend.
“I was only suppose to do two of the players boots, and now I’m doing seven,” he explained in comedic manner.
“The designs on boots will represent the connection between Indigenous and non Indigenous people, coming together to dance and celebrate with each other.”
Amongst some of the players was halfback and former Hunter Sports High student Tyrone Roberts, who was very proud to be a part of the festivities.
“It’s all about bringing the kids together and making them aware of the drama that goes on in the community,” says Roberts.
“It’s good being back here at Hunter Sports High and getting the kids to communicate and get out their shell a little bit.”
Roberts is also excited about supporting ‘Close the Gap’ and wearing the Indigenous jersey once again this Sunday when the Knights host the New Zealand Warriors.
“It’s going to be a big weekend – I’m sure I’ll go out on that field on the weekend and it will be very inspirational,” he added.
Feeney was pleased to have the support of the NRL and the Newcastle Knights.
“For the NRL and the Newcastle Knights to come in to the community and help out as much as they can is awesome and I’m very thankful for that,” said Feeney.
“It’s really good to see Indigenous and non-Indigenous players coming together and doing some painting as well.
“ I’m not the best painter but it’s really good to get back to the culture and it relaxes the mind.”
The Newcastle Knights will carry on their ‘Close the Gap’ celebrations when they take on the New Zealand Warriors this weekend at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
Get your ticket for the Knights v Warriors Close the Gap Round HERE.