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National Reconciliation Week at the Knights

The nib Newcastle Knights held a number of events recently in line with National Reconciliation Week 2024.

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

This year's theme for NRW 2024 was, Now More Than Ever, and was held along the dates of 27 May to 3 June.

See some of the events and activations the Knights took part in below:

Knights and Classic deliver trade-up jerseys to Awabakal

Knights players David Armstrong and Dylan Lucas visited Awabakal in Hamilton to deliver some old Knights jerseys to Indigenous families as part of the Trade Up initiative, thanks to Classic Sportswear.

Knights Members and fans donated a total of 100 jerseys to the Club shop as part of the initiative, receiving a discount on a brand new 2024 jersey.

Awabakal is a leading Indigenous healthcare provider, and have been serving the Newcastle community for more than 40 years, offering services such as GP and medical care, quit smoking programs, mental health support, dental care, disability services, aged care, preschool, playgroup, and housing.

Proud Indigenous men themselves, David and Dylan met with the families and presented the jerseys for those to keep.

The remaining jerseys will be donated to Community Partners of the Knights and Indigenous communities across rural and regional NSW.

Boots for Brighter Futures initiative

In line with the NRL's Indigenous Round, the Knights celebrated their own Indigenous Round in Round 13 in the lead-up to the home against the Bulldogs.

The boys organised to have their boots painted with Indigenous art and design by students of the Cultural Choice Association, and as part of the Boots for Brighter Futures initiative.

The organisation's aim is to raise awareness and to support the prevention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Youth Suicide and its related causes in Australia.

Following Round 13, the boys' boots were auctioned off to the general public with the proceeds going towards the association.

2024 Indigenous jersey art presentation

In line with the Knights Indigenous Round for 2024, the NRL side donned a very special jersey to honour the round.

Designed by renowned Newcastle and Hunter region artist Saretta Fielding, Fielding’s artwork – titled ‘Powaikaliko Piriraal Malang’, which means ‘Grow Strong Together’ –shares the story of the Knights family, reflecting a commitment to grow through connecting with communities and countries whilst bringing acknowledgement to the Awabakal, Worimi and Wonnarua peoples.

Saretta presented to the squad on the meaning behind the jersey and the region's rich Indigenous history.

The jersey completes a suite of work that Fielding has provided to the Club which also includes the art contained within the Knights Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2023-25 and the club’s 2024 game day warm up shirts.

National Reconciliation Week Morning Tea

Wests Group and the Newcastle Knights celebrated NRW and the theme of ‘Now More than Ever’ solidifying our role as an organisation to continue to foster respectful relationships between the wider community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The event included an update to the recent First Nations Policies that Wests Group have implemented and the impact this will have on Wests Group employees in relation to learning, employee retention, and professional development.

The morning tea also includes a panel from key local Indigenous leaders in our community, highlighting their personal experience and more broadly, the journey of Reconciliation.

Speakers included Worimi Aboriginal Local Land Council CEO, Andrew Smith, University of Newcastle Indigenous Employment Partner, Simone Jordan, and University of Newcastle Cultural Capability Facilitator, Kayla Faulkner.

Knights v Bulldogs Home Game

The Knights held a number of activations at our home game in Round 13 against the Bulldogs.

Players and staff engaged with a smoking ceremony before kick-off, plus there was a special Indigenous performance before the boys ran onto the field.

The pre-game performance featured students from Hunter River High School, Hunter Sports High School, Irrawang High School, Callaghan College Jesmond Campus and Tomaree High School, facilitated by Roo Faulkner from Winginyay dreaming.

Furthermore, half of the proceeds raised from the Knights 50/50 charity raffle also went towards Awabakal, with $2944 raised on the night for the charity foundation.