Jason James and Toddom Smith show off their new jerseys.
Jason James and Toddom Smith show off their new jerseys. Kathryn Lewis

Buccaneers first match in piece of Yaegl culture

YAMBA'S Buccaneers took to the field in a piece of Yaegl culture for the first time today.   

It has been a long lead up to the moment artist Frances Belle Parker had been waiting for, when she saw her work on the backs of the men and women she thinks of as "warriors".   

Ms Parker gave an emotional speech at the presentation ceremony today attended by Yaegl elders and community members.   

"To me you guys are warriors, and that's why this image of Yamba and the stone canoe was so pivotal in creating this artwork," she said through tears  

Ms Parker praised Yamba Buccaneers President Andrew Bennett in her speech, for giving the Yaegl community control of the presentation.   

"I think so many other organisations could learn from the passion you've put into this and respect that you have for the Yaegl community and elders to ensure we were represented."  

The presentation began with a welcome to country by Yaegl elder Lenore Parker followed by a history of NAIDOC week from Maclean High School student Kyra Mercy and a smoking ceremony performed by Uncle Ron Heron.   

Each player from the men's and women's sides were presented a jersey from Yaegl elders and former Buccaneers.     

Yaegl elder Elizabeth Smith was honoured when herself and other elders in the community were approached to conduct the ceremony.   

"It's to be inclusive, I feel that you have got to be inclusive, because reconciliation means everybody comes together. Let's work together," she said.  

"I think this is a very positive step, and it's about sharing."   

For former Buccaneers player Brendan Randall, it was an "overwhelming day" and hopefully the start of a tradition.

"Hopefully a couple of the other clubs will be able to take a leaf out of the book and do something like this," he said.   

"I think the Rebels have a bit of indigenous art on their jerseys but it would nice if the Ghosts and the Redmen and Magpies could do the same."   

Special guest former Australian rugby union player Glen Ella was unable to attend due to a flight cancellation.