The new coach of the Indigenous All Stars side has called for the team to be included in the next Rugby League World Cup.
Ron Griffiths - who just last month led the Newcastle Knights to their first NRLW premiership – believes some of the game’s biggest names would make themselves available for such a team.
“I think it would be great for the game, it would be fantastic to see. They would certainly be a strong team,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
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“What’s important is they would inspire the next generation of kids. You would see the game grow in terms of participation, certainly from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective.”
But the calls have been met with resistance from within the Kangaroos camp.
Angus Crichton, who founded a self-funded charity that works with indigenous youth from remote areas, believes splitting the squad would do nothing but broaden the gap at a time the game is making inroads in closing it.
“The way I see it, Indigenous Australia and white Australia – I don’t think we need to divide it. I want it to be integrated, I want everyone to get on as one,” he told Fox Sports.
“If we’re having white Australia v black Australia then I feel like that’s just making the gap further apart.
“I love representing Australia with my indigenous brothers. So I feel like that would be a backward step in my opinion.”
Griffiths said the introduction of the team would bring the Kangaroos back to the level of the rest of the competition.
“If you’re talking about the growth of the game, it would be good for that,” Griffiths said.
“Other nations like Samoa and Tonga have done so much for the development of the game with all of those players choosing to play for their country of origin.
“Being able to do something a bit left-field like that would be huge for the growth of the game.”
Griffiths said he was humbled to take over the coaching role of the All Stars from Laurie Daly.
“For myself, the enormity of it is immense, it’s one of the most coveted jobs,” Griffiths said.
The Kangaroos will take on Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup final at 3am Sunday AEDT.
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