Regional | Aboriginal

Blues embrace War Cry for State of Origin opener

Latrell Mitchell (centre) will lead an Indigenous war cry as the Blues line up for the State of Origin opener in Adelaide tonight. Photo / Getty Images

The NSW Blues rugby league team is embracing an Indigenous war cry as they gear up for the State of Origin series opener tonight.

The team first debuted the tradition during their official dinner Monday, in a display of unity and cultural respect.

Among the indigenous players lining up are Latrell Mitchell, Nicho Hynes, and Josh Addo-Carr, and the team told NITV in Australia it's something all the players have wanted to get on board with.

After Monday, enthusiasm from the likes of Jarome Luai, Brian To'o, and Stephen Crichton, members of the Blues' Samoan contingent, inspired them to continue performing the war cry during subsequent training sessions.

"It's just a bit of love, showing a bit of love to Foxxy (Addo-Carr) and Trell (Mitchell)," explained Luai.

"They're a big part of this team, and I think having Foxxy back in camp is a big energy boost for the boys. Big Nicho as well is part of that. We love hyping up the boys. It's a team bonding sort of thing."

Nicho Hynes of Wiradjuri and Darkinjung ancestry has always been keen to immerse himself in the cultures of his teammates.

While playing for Melbourne Storm alongside Māori stars like Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Brandon Smith, and Jahrome Hughes, Hynes took the opportunity to learn haka.

During his time at the Cronulla Sharks a kaumātua visited the team during the Multicultural Round, helping him hone his skills.

"At the Sharks, we have the same thing; we have all the Samoan, Tongan boys, Kiwis, and Māoris. They love our culture, we love theirs, we just spread the love," Hynes said.

"It's cool to come in, and (the NSW Blues) are the same as well. Everyone's proud of their own culture, and I love when they represent ours too."

Latrell Mitchell often leads the Indigenous war cry, seen here ahead of kick off at the Indigenous v Māori All Stars game in Rotorua in February. Video /

Hynes says he hopes the connection and respect will manifest on the field during the series opener at Adelaide Oval tonight.

"That's what you try to build in these camps, the connection and the love,"

The indigenous war cry has been popularised in NRL clashes, alongside the haka, during the annual All-Stars match between the indigenous Australians team and NZ Māori.

"I guarantee you want to tackle for your mate next to you if you know more about him and you respect him., Hynes said on Tuesday.

Five-eighth, Luai expressed optimism about the team's bond and its potential benefits.

"We've got a good connection, this Blues team here,"

"Hopefully, that helps us this Wednesday."

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