Tyrone Roberts steps up as NRL players get behind Adam Goodes

KNIGHTS halfback Tyrone Roberts has filmed an indigenous dance as the NRL's Aboriginal players plan to celebrate their culture this weekend in a show of support for AFL star Adam Goodes.

NRL welfare and education manager Dean Widders has been visiting clubs before next week's Indigenous round and said players had been rehearsing dances and other expressions of Aboriginal culture that they would now perform a week early because of the controversy over the booing of Goodes when he plays for the Sydney Swans.

"I was at Penrith yesterday, Newcastle this morning and I have been to a few other clubs and it is something the boys are talking about," Widders said. "They are looking at it as a way to support Goodesy, but they also want to dance to showcase our culture this weekend in a positive light.

Lewis Jetta congratulates  Adam Goodes after scoring a goal against Port Adelaide.

Lewis Jetta congratulates Adam Goodes after scoring a goal against Port Adelaide.

"Talking to some of the boys at the Knights today, Dane Gagai was going to do a little Torres Strait Islander dance and Tyrone Roberts has done a shake-a-leg video for local people to use as well, so there are a few things that the boys are coming up with."

The sight of Greg Inglis performing his goanna crawl after scoring a try has become a highlight for fans at matches he plays for South Sydney, Queensland and Australia.

But AFL fans took exception to a war dance performed by Goodes during the AFL's Indigenous round this year, and the booing - or worse - he now receives at every game has become such an issue that the 2013 Australian of the Year has stood down from playing.

"They are both an expression of our culture, and that is probably what has been lost with the Goodesy thing," Widders said. "He didn't do it because he was going to war with anyone; he did it to express his culture and to show the young guys in the under-16s Indigenous team that they can be proud of being Aboriginal and showcasing their culture. That is what we want to show this week.

"We are not going out there to threaten anyone. We are not going out there to hurt anyone.

"We are going out there to express our culture so that people can feel proud of it and want to learn more about it.

"You don't realise how significant what GI does is, how much of a difference it makes and how far it reaches. The more we can make this a part of our game the better.

"A lot of our own mob don't even look at our culture as something special or something to be proud of because it has been beaten down so much, so we want to inspire our own people into believing it, and that is why we want to showcase it so our kids can see it is all right to be proud to be Aboriginal, because it is not so everywhere you go."

Widders accepted that not everyone who booed Goodes at matches was a racist, but he said people needed to understand why it was so hurtful.

"For me, Aboriginal people in this country were treated as less than human for a long time, so any time someone says something that makes me feel less than human, I get offended by it," he said.

"We feel things that generations before us had to struggle with and deal with because every now and then we get a little ugly reminder of that.

"You are always trying to prove yourself as an Aboriginal, and I always think - and a lot of the boys talked about this to me as well - that we are good footballers and a lot of people treat us with respect, but how would they treat our brothers or sisters who they don't know.

"Hopefully this week we will see the positive in supporting our culture because the sad fact is that Aboriginals in Australia need to be supported because of where our people are. We need help. We need help to get our people off drugs, we need help for our people struggling with mental health issues, and that is why we try to stand up for a lot of issues, and that is why we want people to join with us because we can't solve the problems ourselves and we can't solve them while ever we have got people against us."