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First Nations business support ‘adds another layer’ to Indigenous Round

This year's NRL Indigenous Round will see a continued effort to showcase and support Indigenous-owned businesses as part of the NRL’s reconciliation journey.

Building on the work achieved at this year’s NRL Harvey Norman All Stars event in Townsville, which put a spotlight on Indigenous excellence in business, companies owned by Indigenous people will play a key role in supporting the events held in the lead up to and across the round. 

Among those businesses will be Dhinewan Mentoring, a culture, wellbeing and leadership education provider set up and run by former NRL player Jonathan Wright, which will deliver a tailor-made program at the NRL Indigenous Youth Leadership Summit.

Jonathan Wright (white shirt) amassed 121 NRL appearances in a career which included stops at the Eels, Bulldogs, Sharks, Warriors and Sea Eagles. Photo: Supplied
Jonathan Wright (white shirt) amassed 121 NRL appearances in a career which included stops at the Eels, Bulldogs, Sharks, Warriors and Sea Eagles. Photo: Supplied

Current Panthers player Tyrone Peachey's transport business Nanima Care will also support the event. 

NRL Reconciliation Action Plan program manager Alanah Scholes said it’s a huge focus to ensure Indigenous business and the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities are involved off the field in rugby league and particularly at events such as the NRL All Stars and Indigenous Round.

“This is a huge focus of our reconciliation journey, how we can have more Indigenous businesses and Indigenous people leading from the front,” she said.

Off the footy field we want to embrace and empower the talent that we have within our communities.

Alanah Scholes RAP Program manager

“A lot of the work that we do in this space has a focus on working with Indigenous businesses and it’s all about not just supplying economic support, but how it supports our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from grassroots right through to the top end.

“The businesses could be mum and dad businesses or more established ones.”

"It adds another layer to what we can offer."

Having Wright and Peachey involved this year, alongside existing work done with former players like Joel Thompson, also presents a great opportunity to offer wrap around support to players long after they have retired.

Welcome to NRL Indigenous Round 2024!

Peachey, whose business venture was inspired by difficulties organising transport for his nan, Myrene, to hospital, hopes he can help encourage more Indigenous players to consider starting their own business in retirement or while they are still playing.

“We have so much time off after training and have days off, there’s time to do business on the side, and I wish I had done earlier in my career,” Peachey told

“There are so many people out there who want to help NRL players with their futures, especially sponsors within the club and that sort of thing.

“I want to try and share the message…. I’d love to help if I can with any questions they have.”

Scholes adds that it can only be a good thing for the next generation to see more well-known Indigenous faces involved in business.

“With something like the Youth Summit in particular, having a former players involved sends a powerful message to attendees," she said. 

"Being able to support them when they do leave the game, have them come back and provide services, it’s a full circle in terms of how we support our Indigenous communities, but also more broadly how we support our retired players.

"We want to celebrate the great work our players are doing after they retire, and they want to give back to the game as well."

In addition to the existing working relationships with NRL players who now own businesses, work is ongoing to create a network of current and former players who have started their own ventures, with the hope it can lead to further opportunities in future. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.