CAPTION: New Gold Coast Titans recruit Jamal Idris during a training drill at the Titans pre-season training session at Robina on the Gold Coast, last December. (AAP IMAGE/DAVE HUNT)
NATIONAL: JAMAL IDRIS* has been busy getting ready for the Indigenous All-Stars game, and also his new role at the Gold Coast Titans.
I know it has been a couple of months since I have written the Hardest Hit column and there is so much to fill you in on.
I will start with the obvious, the big move from the Bulldogs and Sydney to the Gold Coast and the Titans.
The move was sad but exciting at the same time.
The excitement of starting a new journey and a new life in a laidback coastal environment gave me great satisfaction.
I have settled in to my new home on the Gold Coast, explored most of the South East Queensland region and found some favorite places to visit on the weekends like Byron Bay.
Everyone has been really friendly and welcoming. I’ve also developed a newfound respect for the environment and landscape that reminds me of my hometown Forster.
I’ve really been able to concentrate on my footy and put in a big effort during preseason training, without the distraction of the ‘big smoke’.
As I write this article, I’m preparing for the annual NRL All Stars game that I have been lucky enough to be selected for (thank you to everyone who voted for me!)
People often ask me what it means to be Aboriginal and how proud I am of my culture and heritage.
Every time this question is asked I immediately think of where I am from, my family and how to best represent our people.
This year’s game will have special meaning, as we will be playing for The Arthur Beetson memorial.
I have met Artie on numerous occasions and he was a special person – larger than life and an amazing ambassador for our people.
Over the past few months I’ve also been busy working with my brother Isaac on a new initiative to improve the Indigenous employment experience – from both the professional organisation and individual perspective.
We will have a dedicated column from our organisation, Destination Indigenous Solutions, so stay tuned for what we will be doing and how we hope to make a difference.
2012 is shaping up to be an exciting year on and off the field – I look forward to continuing to share my yarns with you.
Let’s also hope when I next put pen to paper we will be the All Star champions!
*Jamal Idris is a Worimi man and professional Rugby League player, currently representing the Gold Coast Titans.