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Brent Woolf wants young Indigenous kids to know they should be proud of their culture and their heritage.

The versatile hooker and lock – a Kuku Djungan man – will don his first Indigenous jersey for the Tweed Seagulls this Sunday, when the club takes on the Ipswich Jets at Piggabeen Sports Complex.

Having been with Tweed since 2019, Woolf has been a huge advocate – alongside teammate Lindon McGrady – for the Seagulls to have their own Indigenous jersey.

This weekend the club will do just that, celebrating their inaugural Indigenous jersey designed by artist Malachi Urquhart, under the guidance of Kyle Slaab.

The club also worked with Eximm and the Banaam group to see their vision come to life, honouring “the rich cultural inheritance of the Indigenous peoples of the Bundjalung nation in which the club resides". 

And for Woolf, it will not only be a significant moment for himself and his Indigenous teammates like McGrady, Treymain Spry and Ryan Walker, but it will hold great meaning for the next generations.

Brent Woolf. Photo: Bailey Sands/Tweed Seagulls
Brent Woolf. Photo: Bailey Sands/Tweed Seagulls

“It’s good that we get to recognise the Indigenous people in our team,” Woolf said.

“We’ve had a fair few for a couple of years and they’re a predominant part of our team.

“It’s important to see our culture represented and to have pride shown in it. It’s been a staple of the Australian history.

“Being Aboriginal can be seen as detrimental. There used to be exemption certificates and you could actually apply to be considered to not be Aboriginal.

“I think it’s been ingrained in our people that being Aboriginal is a bad thing so it’s good to see pride in our culture and to show kids from the area and our own families – like Lindo’s kids – that it is something to be proud of.

“We have a lot of Indigenous kids that are coming through our systems too… hopefully the jersey is around to stay for the future.”

Woolf, who works for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, gets his Indigenous heritage from his birth mother, whose family hails from the Yarrabah region, near Cairns.

While he has not had much contact with her since he was young and does not know the “ins and outs” of his particular family’s heritage, Woolf said it had always been important to him to understand the wider Indigenous culture and to celebrate that part of him.

“It’s a part of who I am and I am everything that has happened to me,” he said.

“A lot of the traumas that our people have are passed down through intergenerational trauma due to being part of the Stolen Generation.

“It’s still who I am and I am what has happened to me and my family; we are all still affected by what happened in the past.

“This is why I believe (the view on being Indigenous) needs to be reversed and kids need to look at it as a good thing.

“If they are in bad position, it’s not because they are Aboriginal. It’s because of what’s happened to them and their families in the past.”

Tweed players in the inaugural Indigenous jersey. Photo: Bailey Sands/Tweed Seagulls
Tweed players in the inaugural Indigenous jersey. Photo: Bailey Sands/Tweed Seagulls

Woolf also extends his knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history through his work.

With just two subjects left in his law degree, the 25-year-old documents laws and legislation policies that have affected Aboriginal people since colonisation for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

“I read a lot of the history and articles on the Stolen Generation,” he said.

“I didn’t want to work at a firm because I did internships in firms and didn’t really like it. Then a friend of mine hit me up because she knew I was studying law and I am Indigenous.

“I really just did it because of that and now I obviously like it. You read a lot of traumatising stuff but it’s good to know the history of my people and Australia as a whole.”

Woolf’s main focus however remains his football.

He said given the number of injuries he’s had to overcome and the fact that football is “time sensitive”, he wants to give as much to the game as he can over the next few years.

This Saturday’s clash with the Jets is not just important because of the inaugural Indigenous jersey, but it is also a must-win for the Seagulls, who currently sit in seventh on the Hostplus Cup ladder but are on the same points as the Northern Pride in eighth, with a lot of pressure from outside the top eight.

They’re coming off the back of a loss to the Pride last week and with just two rounds left – including an expected blockbuster against the Sunshine Coast Falcons next Saturday – Woolf is hopeful that the Indigenous jerseys will be able to inspire Tweed to the two points this Sunday.

“It will probably be inspirational for some of us Indigenous boys and hopefully the rest of the team can feed off our energy and motivation for a well-needed win,” he said.

“With no disrespect to the Jets, this is a game we should win and next week against Sunny Coast will almost be for the eighth spot.

“If we can’t get up for that, then what are we doing? If we can’t beat the team coming ninth, we don’t a have a right to be in the top eight.

“Hopefully this week can inspire us as a team.”

Main image: Brent Woolf and Lindon McGrady in Tweed's inaugural Indigenous jersey. Photo: Bailey Sands/Tweed Seagulls

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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