LISMORE-born Brian Kelly will represent the Northern Rivers in the NRL Indigenous round this weekend.
Kelly is the longest serving Indigenous player at the Gold Coast Titans and was part of the group who designed a special one-off jersey they will wear against the Brisbane Broncos tomorrow night.
He will represent the Bundjalung region with most of his family based at Ballina and Cabbage Tree Island.
"It's always a special round, especially for myself and my family," Kelly said.
"I get to represent them and my culture as well as all of the Indigenous players in the team.
"I also want to give the Northern Rivers area something to look forward to and make them happy.
"We're a big community club and we wanted to include the Torres Strait and local Indigenous boys in the jersey.
"I had a bit of input here and there; it's turned out really well."
The jersey design was painted by local artist and proud Yurarabul man Kieran Chilcott and symbolises the culmination of 15 years of the club and celebrates the 34 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander players, hailing from 16 different tribunal groups over the journey.
Chilcott wanted his work to represent the club and the players who have worn the blue and gold in years gone by, and in years to come.
"The Titans have been close to my heart since they came here to the Gold Coast and having the ability to design the Indigenous jersey and work alongside the club, the players and our community to find something that actually really represents our mobs has been really special and I feel really honoured," Chilcott said.
"I felt a lot of pressure doing it because I wouldn't typically call myself an artist... it's not something that I do as a day job. I picked up a paintbrush up during COVID and started dotting away.
"I guess getting to this point, working with the club and being able to paint something with meaning was really important for me.
"Talking with Preston Campbell, Brian Kelly and the team at the Titans, but also people within our community about what would be important to be represented made it even easier.
"I was painting for this local area and representing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players of the club and what their imprint has been for our communities, not only just here, but right across Australia."
As one of the Titans' most notable founding players and proud Indigenous representative, Campbell is proud to still be involved with the club he finished his illustrious career with.
"One of the great things about the Titans is they're so encouraging of bringing the community together," Campbell said.
"Even though a lot of players come from different walks of life, they're very encouraging of where the players come from. We're not just talking about Indigenous players; we've got women playing now and people with disabilities.
"The fact they're still very happy to showcase Indigenous culture, it's a very proud moment."
The legendary fullback is also humbled to be recognised on the jersey with his son Jayden, the first of what is hoped to be many second-generation Titans to come.
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