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Deadly Maroons working towards better health outcomes

The Queensland Rugby League continues its partnership with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’s Deadly Choices program in 2020, assisting to help promote healthy lifestyle choices for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout the state.

Deadly Choices is a preventative health initiative which aims to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to make healthy choices for themselves and their families – to stop smoking, to eat good food and exercise daily.

One of those major pillars was on show today as Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters joined Maroons legends and Deadly Choices ambassadors Steve Renouf, Petero Civoniceva, Willie Tonga, Tallisha Harden and Bo De La Cruz (pictured below) to manage interactive cooking stations at Davies Park.

Kevin Walters, Steve Renouf, Petero Civoniceva, Willie Tonga, Tallisha Harden and Bo De La Cruz.
Kevin Walters, Steve Renouf, Petero Civoniceva, Willie Tonga, Tallisha Harden and Bo De La Cruz.

The QRL-Deadly Choices partnership will again provide a solid, multi-faceted approach, utilising the profile of Queensland’s elite sporting superstars to engage with individuals, while also complementing successful Deadly Choices education programs to make an undeniable difference in Queensland communities.

In 2020, the Deadly Maroons, through its Good Quick Tukka Cookbook, will highlight how cooking and eating nutritious foods can set people up towards leading a healthy lifestyle.

A specially designed Deadly Maroons Good Quick Tukka program shirt will be made available to school student graduates from across Queensland. 

Walters said it was terrific to be involved in such a rewarding community initiative.

“Today’s experience really does reinforce how important the partnership is between the QRL and Deadly Choices program,” Walters said.

Steve Renouf and Kevin Walters cooking. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL
Steve Renouf and Kevin Walters cooking. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL

“It is never too late to start making healthy choices, and people who do it consistently will reap the rewards.

“I’m fortunate enough to be involved with many great athletes who take great pride in eating nutritious foods and exercising daily.

“Now the challenge is to raise the bar throughout the community. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, the Good Quick Tukka Cookbook is ideal.”   

Today’s entourage of league legends wore with pride the Deadly Maroons health check and program shirts which will be made available at participating Community Controlled Health Services and schools across Queensland.

State of Origin provides the perfect platform and opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the valued contributions of Indigenous players and fans as part of the ‘Deadly Maroons’ health campaign.

The QRL’s continued commitment to community through the federally-funded Deadly Maroons health initiative will make an indelible mark where it’s needed most.

 “The Deadly Maroons campaign will further strengthen delivery of our deadly choices messages which aim to empower our people to take control of their health – to stop smoking, to eat healthier and exercise more,” Institute for Urban Indigenous Health CEO Adrian Carson said.

Willie Tonga and Bo De La Cruz. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL
Willie Tonga and Bo De La Cruz. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL

“Football is so much more than a game – it is a vehicle to drive important health messages for our people and to encourage families to access their local Community Controlled Health Services for support to make deadly choices, including completing a regular health check.

“Our Deadly Choices shirts have played a key role in driving demand for preventative health care, contributing to an incredible 4000 per cent increase in health checks in southeast Queensland and leading to the expansion of Deadly Choices across Queensland.  

“Through Deadly Choices, we’re making a real difference in closing the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and with the support and commitment of the QRL, along with the Queensland and Australian governments, momentum will be enhanced over coming years.”

Keeping with the cooking theme, an inaugural Deadly Maroons Good Quick Tukka community cook-off competition was also launched, where lucky winners will have the opportunity to measure up their skills in the kitchen, against their favourite Deadly Maroons ambassadors.

Deadly Maroons artwork story 

Elaine Chambers-Hegarty is an Aboriginal graphic designer and artist - her links to country are Koa (Guwa) nation of Winton area, and Kuku Yalanji (North Queensland).

Chambers-Hegarty feels blessed to have inherited her dad’s creative genes, with her artistic ability and love of computers prompting a career in graphic design straight out of school. For the bulk of her 30-year professional career, Chambers-Hegarty has worked with News Media, winning Newspapers’ highest achievement award - a PANPA Award for Creative Excellence, and in 2015 won Australia’s NAIDOC poster design competition.

Chambers-Hegarty has also designed for her favourite NRL team, the Brisbane Broncos for their Indigenous jerseys in 2019 and 2020, plus AFL teams - Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions.

This year’s Deadly Maroons artwork is taken from Chambers-Hegarty’s jersey designs created for the Queensland Murri Under 16 team.  The artwork takes a look at traditional dance images of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their pride in traditional dance.

“Sport often plays a big part amongst our people as well, and we enjoy having the chance to play alongside our brothers,” Chambers-Hegarty said.

“The circled areas represent the gathering places, with 16 symbols in the circle to represent those young men and the years that they have experienced, while highlighting the achievement of another successful milestone by making the Queensland Murri team. I have also added larger symbols to represent the elder men of the families watching over them. Line work and dots link to our country and their homelands.”