Super Rugby


Saia Fainga’a launches the St.George Queensland Reds Indigenous Round

St.George Queensland Reds hooker Saia Fainga’a today launched the Reds Indigenous Round with the unveiling of the new unique playing jersey to be worn in their match against the Chiefs on Saturday 6 June.

The Reds Indigenous Round was launched at Ballymore and Fainga’a was joined by Indigenous Queensland Women’s Sevens player Talisha Harden and Queensland Reds Indigenous Program participant Paul Cobbo. 

Fainga’a is one of a number of Indigenous program ambassadors for Queensland Rugby and he said the Indigenous Round match is something he is always proud to be a part of. 

“Rather than having a strictly Rugby focus, it’s great to see the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program delivering educational and employment results and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Queensland,” Fainga’a said. 

“It’s a special occasion for the Reds to host an Indigenous Round and acknowledge the achievements of the program and it’s participants and as players its something we’re proud to take part in.

“Given our Indigenous heritage, the event holds a lot of meaning for Anthony and I.” 

The Indigenous Round match will take place following National Reconciliation Week and will feature several Queensland Rugby initiatives, including Queensland Rugby’s Indigenous Business Breakfast at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition next Thursday morning and the Future Indigenous Leaders Program Leadership Camp in Brisbane. 

The Business Breakfast provides Queensland Rugby with the chance to showcase the program and it’s participants to both the State and Federal Governments as well as corporate partners and the wider community. 

Participants from Queensland Rugby’s Future Indigenous Leaders Program will travel from remote communities across the State including Cherbourg, Woorabinda and Yarrabah, to Brisbane next week where they will take part in leadership and cultural activities from Thursday to Monday. 

The participants will also attend the Indigenous Round match between the Reds and the Chiefs, where they will form the run-on tunnel, play in the St.George Rookies2Reds half time games and experience an inner-sanctum tour. 

Since the introduction of the Indigenous Round jersey in 2012, the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program has experienced exponential growth. Indigenous artist Stephen Hogarth has provided new artwork for the 2015 jersey to reflect the growth of the program, which has grown from delivering to two remote Indigenous communities to six, from 20 visits to the communities to over 95 annually and individual mentoring programs from 40 participants to more than 150 aged between 11-19 years of age. 

The Reds will play in this match jersey featuring the artwork on the back, sleeves, and down the sides. The artwork represents the coming together of communities from across Queensland. This match jersey will be worn in the Reds vs Chiefs match on Saturday 6 June, 2015 and signed by the player who wore it. The artwork was designed by local indigenous artist Stephen Hogarth.

The match-day jerseys will be auctioned, with profits going to the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program Education Scholarship. Bids can be placed at

A retail replica jersey, training tee and singlet (adult sizes only) featuring the Reds Indigenous design will be available for sale at the game and through the Reds online shop at

Joel Johnston, Queensland Rugby Head of Game Development, said the Reds Indigenous Round was a great way to celebrate Indigenous culture and the achievements of program participants.

“The Reds Indigenous Round is an important fixture in the Queensland Rugby calendar. The event allows the organisation to recognise the achievements of the programs participants while also raising wider community awareness and funds to support it,” Johnston said.  

“The Queensland Reds Indigenous Program focuses on the core values of leadership, teamwork, commitment, pride, culture and community. The program particularly focuses on incentivising and supporting school attendance, school retention, Year 12 attainment and engagement into further education and/or employment for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants of the program.

“This is an incredibly rewarding program and one that we at Queensland Rugby are very proud of.”

Fainga’a was joined at the launch be Queensland Women’s Sevens player Tallisha Harden an Queensland Reds Indigenous Program participant Paul Cobbo. 

Harden said: “My family are proud Argun Clan people from Badu Island in the Torres Strait. I think it's extremely important to have the Indigenous Round to recognise and include Australia's oldest living cultures. 

“It's also an opportunity for the Rugby community to celebrate the Indigenous players who currently compete Super Rugby competition, the men and women's sevens programs, the Indigenous players who previously represented Queensland at a state or national level as well as all the indigenous men, women and kids who strap on their boots week-in-week-out in grassroots Rugby. 

“Queensland Rugby’s Indigenous Program encourages leadership, teamwork and commitment out in the community. Encouraging young people to make healthy lifestyle choices, positive education choices and informed career choices through the avenue of sport is life-changing."

Cobbo, who is part of the ‘Learn, Earn, Legend’ program, said: “The main thing that the program has done for me is it has given me opportunities within the workforce as well as helping me transition from high school to university. Because of the program, I am now studying Accounting and Finance at Queensland University of Technology.

“I think the main benefit of the program for young Indigenous people is that it helps provide direction for students who may not have an idea of what they hope to do after school. The program really helped me to hone in on my individual skills and gives young people a guide for their career aspirations and what they want to achieve in life.”

2015 has seen the introduction of the first Queensland Reds Indigenous Program Education Scholarship, with three successful recipients, from the Future Indigenous Leaders Program, attending boarding school in Toowoomba. 

The program is made possible through the support of the Australian Government, Queensland Government, Rio Tinto, CC Amatil and Capital Training Institute.

The Reds face the Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 6 June.

Queensland Reds Indigenous Program Overview
Community Development

•    6 remote communities – Cherbourg, Woorabinda, Yarrabah, Mornington Island, Lockhart River, Pormpuraaw
•    55 community visits annually
•    Each school to participate in the St.George Rookies2Reds School Attendance Program
-    Rewarding 90% attendance and acceptable behavior
•    Three Breakfast clubs in 2015 , Yarrabah increased by 82% in 2014
•    Community Volunteer Education Courses

Future Indigenous Leaders Program (FILP)
•    Three remote communities – Cherbourg, Woorabinda, Yarrabah
•    36 community visits annually
•    67 participants from Year 6 to Year 9
•    Community Reference Groups in each Community
•    Average of 91.95% attendance, increase on 4% 2013

Learn Earn Legend! Program
•    200 participants have completed Year 12 (100% attainment) since 2012
•    94% participants successfully transitioned to employment or further education (20% above State Average)
•    29% attend University, above State average

Queensland Reds Indigenous Program Education Scholarship
•    Three students from Future Indigenous Leaders Program on Queensland Reds Indigenous Program Education Scholarships at Toowoomba Grammar School and Toowoomba Anglican College and Preparatory School. 

For more information on the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program, visit   

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