FOR STARTERS, it’s the profession which enabled my Dad to emerge from a childhood marred by domestic violence and poverty, to forge a 14-year-long NRL career with the Sydney Roosters and Canterbury Bulldogs. It’s the profession that ultimately set the foundations for the privileged and incredible life that my sister and I have had. He’s been my example of black excellence forever.
He showed me through his talent, hard work and commitment to giving back to community, that brilliance, compassion and generosity are key components of what it means to be Aboriginal. As a kid, I always wanted to be just like him when I grew up — and though I knew I would never do it on the footy field, my understanding of what my identity gives me in strength, resilience and power, was first shown to me by footballers.