"Something I have always been proud of" -KC Taunoa
From 3 July to 10 July NAIDOC Week is being celebrated across Australia, helping to highlight the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Peter Robinson, Greg Inglis and Josh Addo-Carr are all examples of Indigenous players that excelled on the field for the Melbourne Storm, paving the way for the next generation to follow in their footsteps.
In a week where Indigenous culture is being celebrated right around Australia, young Truganina Rabbitohs half and The Grange student KC Taunoa, is one of the bright talents in Victoria representing their familes history and heritage.
Taunoa who belongs to the Kaurna and Naurrgna people, has been impressing for the Truganina Rabbitohs in the Storm Premiership Under 18 division this season, with his elusive footwork and strong kicking game proving to be a handful for opposition defenders.
He's also played a key role in the Grange's success in the Storm Cup competition, helping his school notch crucial wins over Hallam and Mount Ridley.
With NAIDOC week initiatives taking place right around the country, Taunoa said the chance to represent his culture when he runs out onto the field this weekend is something he takes a lot of pride in.
"I have always been connected to my mob, my family are Kaurna and Naurrgna and that's something I have always been proud of," Taunoa said.
With his brother Jamayne once again representing the Indigenous All Stars in this year's All Stars match, Taunoa said that whether it be at grassroots level or on the international stgae, being able to represent your family is something that holds a lot of importance for young people growing up around sport.
"Yeah it definitely helps people learn and see our culture in a positive way, I think that sport is one of the best ways to be able to truly represent your mob," the 17-year old said.
Taunoa said initiatives like Indigenous Round, that have become a mainstay in the NRL, is a great chance for first nations people to be recognised and celebrated.
"Yeah I think things like NAIDOC week are great and I love seeing Aboriginal players out representing mob, it really makes you feel connected," he said.
While the likes of Greg Inglis and Josh Addo-Carr have lit up the NRL in Storm colours, Taunoa said it was Cowboys great Johnathan Thurston that inspired him from a young age.
"Yeah while the likes of Inglis and Addo-Carr have been great for Storm, for me my inspirational Indigenous player is Jonathan Thurston, so I was pretty lucky getting the chance meet him while I was in Townsville earlier this year," he said.
Taunoa will line up once again for the Rabbitohs when they take on the Altona Roosters at Bruce Comben Reserve tomorrow.