Panthers embrace Indigenous Round with striking jersey

Daine Laurie wearing Penrith's Indigenous jersey. Photo: Penrith Panthers.
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Panthers utility Daine Laurie will look to channel his favourite Indigenous player, Matty Bowen, when he returns to Penrith’s line-up for tomorrow night’s top four blockbuster against the Cronulla Sharks.

The 24-year-old will make just his fifth appearance for Penrith this season, in a round that recognises the role Indigenous players and communities play on and off the field.

To celebrate the occasion, the Panthers will wear an Indigenous jersey designed by Natasha Fordham in collaboration with Panthers Indigenous Wellbeing Officer Glen Liddiard.

Speaking with the Weekender on Wednesday, Laurie said he couldn’t wait to run out onto the PoinstBet Stadium pitch and represent his people.

“You get to represent your culture and the elders that are gone – it’s an unreal time of the year,” he declared.

The Panthers took part in an Indigenous Round launch on Wednesday. Photo: NRL Photos.

“The jersey looks deadly, I can’t wait to wear it on Saturday. It’s got some mad little animals and Indigenous artwork on it.

“I can’t wait to celebrate our culture on the big stage and represent our people.”

The jersey features Laurie’s handprint on the front as well as that of female Panthers staff member Taylah Murray, recognising the role both genders play across the rugby league landscape. The colours from both the Australian Aboriginal flag and Torres Straight Islander flag are featured on the sleeves.

Male and female totems of the Darug Nation, the fruit bat and the ring-tail possum represent gender equality and the role males and females play in the game.

Two black cockatoos overlook the land in which we unite, three kangaroos as well as a platypus and eastern long neck turtle are depicted swimming in the Darug Nation river systems, highlighting the vast array of fauna which occupy the land we are on.

The NRL launched Indigenous Round earlier this week. Photo: NRL Photos.

Emblazoned on the top back of the jersey is the word ‘Warami’ meaning Welcome.

Cronulla fans will welcome the Panthers back to the Shire tomorrow evening for the first time since the 2019 season.

With the competition-leading Sharks coming off an important win to the Roosters and the Panthers coming off a disappointing Magic Round loss to the Warriors, there’s no better game for Ivan Cleary’s men to bounce back in.

“They are going good, the Sharkies! They are a deadly team this year. They’ve been a deadly team the last three years,” Laurie said.

“They’ve started this season well and it’s going to be a tough one at Shark Park. I don’t think the club has played there for about five years.

“It’s going to be a good, tough game, and hopefully we come away with the two points.”

The NRL Indigenous Round launch. Photo: NRL Photos.

In his four games in the NRL this season, Laurie has played a total of 44 minutes off Penrith’s interchange bench. Competent at fullback, wing and five-eighth, Laurie said he’s comfortable with his current role as a utility.

“It’s just about being patient,” he said.

“Obviously I have world-class players in front of me and I have to bide  my time on the bench and wait for the coach to put me up.

“It’s not hard being patient.

“It’s pretty mad watching the boys go to work from the sidelines.

“They are world-class and just to be even put in the team – the best team in the world – it’s been deadly, I don’t really mind.”

Indigenous Round was launched on Wednesday.

Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the Weekender's Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.

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