In the lead up to NRL Indigenous Round, Melbourne Storm players and staff shared in a presentation to acknowledge and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
Josh Addo-Carr spoke to the playing group about the pride he has in playing this round and the opportunity it provides to celebrate his culture and share with the wider community.
As part of a traditional 'gift exchange', Melbourne Storm will offer a wooden shield to Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson before Sunday's game.
Players and staff met local artists to learn about the history and significance of the wooden shield this week.
The shield - or kun'ma'rin in Gubbi Gubbi language - was hand crafted by Gubbi Gubbi man and co-founder of Yarn Bark, Alex Splitt.
Made from locally sourced Victorian Ash, the shield represents both physical protection to the bearer and the unyielding fighting spirit of a warrior.
Wathawurrung artist Bree Webster designed and painted the shield.
"This design represents two communities walking a journey of truth telling, and reflection on our past, to meet in the middle with a unified future, imbedded with respect for each other," she said.
"This is represented in this game by Melbourne Storm and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous players walking this truth telling journey together.
"Through this journey of truth telling we can heal historical wounds to foster positive race relations."
Storm players and staff were privileged to share in an Acknowledgment to Country by Gubbi Gubbi man Alex Splitt.
As part of his acknowledgement, Alex played his Yidaki (Didgeridoo) to the players and staff and spoke in language to acknowledge country.
To learn more about Alex and his work, visit yarnbark.com.au or check out his instagram @Yarn.Bark