Josh Addo-Carr’s passion for his Aboriginal heritage is written in ink on his skin.
His left forearm and wrist bare the symbols of his mother’s family. They are from the Wiradjuri tribe in NSW.
In big letters down his left leg is a tattoo needled by the elders of his father’s tribe, the Gunggandji people from north Queensland.
The word on his leg means “lightning”.
“The elders gave me that when I started playing first grade (NRL),” Addo-Carr explains.
They, like the rest of us, would marvel at the way ‘The Foxx’ glides across a football field with freakish speed. Like a lightning bolt.
Inked on his left shoulder is a map of Australia, coloured like the Aboriginal flag.
Addo-Carr’s body is covered in tattoos but these are his most cherished, and some of the most meaningful.
The boy from Redfern now gets the chance to represent his culture in an official capacity, at AAMI Park on Friday night when he runs out in his debut Indigenous All Stars jersey.
He rates this occasion alongside the State of Origins and NRL grand finals he’s played in.
“It’s finally hit me since coming into camp that I’ve actually made the side,” Addo-Carr said while appearing at a youth summit in Melbourne with the All Stars team.
“I’m very thankful to be a part of it. It’s up there, it’s definitely up there. As a cultural thing I think this is the pinnacle.
“It was very emotional (telling my family). A lot of excitement, just over the moon and very proud obviously.
“It’s good they get to witness the game, the atmosphere, the stuff we learn about our culture and this city.”
Addo-Carr has always represented his family, every time he runs onto a football field.
In his early days at Wests Tigers he famously adopted a try celebration that was a nod to his family members behind bars.
That celebration stopped when he arrived at the Storm, but he found new ways to promote his culture.
Addo-Carr now undertakes community work. Every chance he gets he jumps in the car with Melbourne’s indigenous welfare officer, Peter Robson, and goes to communities to meet people and share his story.
“I travel all around Australia to go meet people, try to put smiles on faces and tell them a bit about my story,” he said.
“I’d do it for anyone. I would go to anyone’s community to put a smile on a face and tell my story.
“Obviously where I’m from in Redfern there’s heaps of community stuff so I always try to give back there.”
It was during last year’s State of Origin series foxsports.com.au learned Addo-Carr and Latrell Mitchell had been speaking to NSW Blues teammate Angus Crichton about taking a trip to remote Arnhem Land to learn more about their culture.
Those plans have been put on hold as Addo-Carr saves money to buy a house, but the Storm flyer is keen to get involved with an organisation Crichton has in the works surrounding Aboriginal culture.
For now, though, his focus is on doing his family proud on Friday night.