Commitment is a word that is at the core of what the Dhadhin Geai Warriors are trying to achieve when they run onto the field to take part in the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League tomorrow.
As the winners of the 2017 Deadly Choices Arthur Beetson Foundation Murri Carnival, the side are representing Queensland this weekend at the game being played at Redfern Oval.
The team – made up of players from across the Torres Strait and beyond – produced a stunning performance in the final, defeating their opponents SEQ Indigenous All Stars 46-0.
For the carnival, the team included players from Badu, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton and Sydney and included NRL and Intrust Super Cup representatives Brenko Lee, Edrick Lee, Travis Waddell, Shaun Nona and Yamba Bowie.
“The team was made up of players with genealogical connections to Badu; we recruited players with linkages to Badu Island,” team organiser George Morseu said.
Morseu said the team were all happy to be heading to a place like Redfern Oval to be involved in the festival and to play the game against their NSW counterparts the Newcastle Yowies.
“We are all very excited to be representing Queensland, our communities and our families back home … we are excited to go to Redfern to participate,” he said.
“It is a massive experience to play for many of our young players.
“It’s an opportunity to play in front of a big crowd, and maybe some NRL scouts.
“We have an experienced coach, (George) ‘Terry’ Abednego (the 2016 NRL National Volunteer of the Year winner), who has taken teams from the grassroots to success before at other carnivals.
“We are going down to win.”
However, it has been a long journey for the side to get to this point, figuratively and literally.
Travel distances are an enormous obstacle to overcome and it takes strong commitment from all involved to get onto a field to play; but despite the difficulties – football is a huge part of life in up north.
“We are very passionate about footy on the island,” Morseu said.
“(However) it is a huge journey; but Badu is used to travelling to play.
“It took a fair bit of hard work to participate in the Murri Carnival, with support from sponsors.
“For this trip (to Redfern Oval), we have had help from places like The Koori Mail, the QRL and NRL and local sporting associations.”
Despite their strong desire to win this interstate challenge, Morseu admitted the game itself would be a tough one; with his side set to be "evenly-matched" with the Yowies.
Both teams featured some NRL star-power in their carnival wins, but both will have to overcome their absence in tomorrow’s game, with some of these players being made unavailable; or in the case of some Warriors like Maipele Morseu; being promoted to represent the First Nation Goannas in their match v NZ Māori.
“The Yowies will be strong – we will be evenly matched because they are in similar boat, missing some NRL stars,” Morseu said.
“We are very keen to come out winners and are hoping for a good performance against the Yowies.
“While we have lost a lot of players back to the NRL, Intrust Super Cup and First Nation Goannas; we have some talented young players and we will trust what we have.”
***The Murri Carnival v Koori Carnival Interstate Challenge match between Dhadhin Geai Warriors (Queensland) and Newcastle Yowies (NSW) will be played at 1.45pm (NSW time) and will be livestreamed on the NRL Facebook and Twitter pages.
More news about the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League
Main Image via Murri Carnival Facebook