Wednesday 4th April, 2007

Kick Off: When you’re an Aboriginal kid living in the bush, sport can be everything.

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It takes your mind off problems like unemployment and gives you something to do, something positive to focus your energies on.

Yet there are claims that rugby league is dying a slow death in the bush, and that worries Michael Anderson. A founding member of Canberra’s 1972 Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Michael is concerned about the fate of kids in communities where rugby league is one of the few things they look forward to.

This week on Living Black, video journalist Kris Flanders reports on Michael Anderson’s determination to start a breakaway league competition, and the launch of the Aboriginal Nations Super League on Saturday, April 7.

It wasn’t easy to set up the ANSL. At first, the Country Rugby League refused to sanction the competition citing concerns over insurance, crowd behaviour, travel arrangements and sustainability. Not to mention the fear that a new competition could weaken current ones operating around NSW.

Finally, after many meetings, the Aboriginal Nations Super League was established. Competitors will include the Moree Boomerangs, Kempsey’s Gimbisi Warriors and Aboriginal rugby league teams that were banned from local competitions.

Kris Flander’s report includes interviews with players from the new league, the Country Rugby League as well as St.George Dragons legend Ricky Walford from the Australian Rugby League.

Kirk Page: Kirk Page is one of Australia’s best kept secrets. The indigenous singer/dancer/actor, born into a performing family, started early, singing in his mother’s kitchen at just five years of age.

Now, Kirk is experiencing his biggest performance yet, starring as Jimmy in the hit musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert, currently playing at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre.

Kirk Page is down to earth, a person who doesn’t care much for the spotlight, but for the first time he’s letting Living Black’s Tani Crotty behind the scenes for an important curtain call.