Josh Aloiai described the moment of leading the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles out onto AAMI Park tonight as an ‘absolute honour’
As part of the NRL Indigenous Round, a cultural ceremony was held prior to kick off with both teams walking out on the field together.
Aloiai had the honour of leading the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles out alongside Melbourne Storm legend and proud Indigenous man, Greg Inglis.
The pair then took part in a cultural gift exchange between the two clubs with Aloiai presenting a fighting shield to Inglis and the Storm club.
The fighting shield is a representation of a traditional weapon used by Australian Aborigines in skirmishes with other mobs. The symbol on the front says it’s a man’s. The symbol on the back near the handle says man and woman (GuriNgai).
The shield was made from Mulga wood and coated in Xanthorroea (grass tree) resin, making it water resistant. Mulga had a wide range of traditional uses for some groups of Aboriginal people.
The shield was designed and crafted by Uncle Laurie Bimson with the artwork provided by Tom Bimsom from Guringai Aboriginal Tours.
Aloiai was chosen to lead the Sea Eagles out in front.
“I have proud Samoan heritage stemming from the village of Vailoa Palauli on my father’s side and Kiwi roots through and through my on my mother’s side,’’ Aloiai said.
“Additionally, I am a proud uncle of my Indigenous niece and nephews Kyrell, Danny, Taimoana and Tiana Thorne.
“It was an absolute honour to lead the boys out and I was taken back that I was given the honour to do so.”