THE Aberdeen Tigers will acknowledge their proud Aboriginal history at McKinnon Oval this weekend.
The BHP Billiton Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League club is preparing to host its indigenous round, against the neighbouring Muswellbrook Rams, and a big day is on the cards.
The Tigers will also unveil a specially-designed jumper for the occasion.
Aboriginal dancers, a didgeridoo player, a Welcome to Country by former Muswellbrook Shire Citizen of the Year Barry French, as well as an Aberdeen Old Boys versus Indigenous Old Boys encounter, will add to the atmosphere on Saturday.
“It’s a significant weekend [for us],” co-coach Daniel Hoggerwerf said.
“We have many Aboriginal players in our ranks, as well as throughout the club.
“So, it’s important we recognise [the origins of] their culture.”
The Tigers hope to support the family of a fallen member of the league community, too.
“Guy Thompson, who joined us from East Campbelltown, lost a mate recently,” Hoogerwerf said.
“Wayde Dunley played halfback – and, from all reports, was a top bloke.
“Half of the proceeds from the No. 7 jersey (all the jumpers are being auctioned off afterwards at The Commercial Hotel) will go towards his wife Chelsea and beautiful baby Koa.”
Aberdeen, fresh from a bye, will be keen to surge back into premiership contention at the expense of the Rams.
A last-start draw with the Denman Devils hampered the side’s momentum, somewhat.
“The break’s helped a little bit,” Hoogerwerf said.
“We’re refreshed, even though co-coach Shane Hasselmann and Lee Mitchell are racing the clock to be fit.
“But, we’ll need to control our discipline better; we’ve improved on that since the previous outing against the Rams and cut down on the penalties.
“We have to win – we can’t afford to drop a game now.
“You don’t want to be relying on other results, so four from four is the goal.
“We’ll need the likes of Josh Schmiedel, Marcus Marsh, James Standing, Liam Fitzsimmons, Guy [Thompson] and Chris Vidler to provide the go-forward and make room for our halves.
“If we complete our sets, and focus on our game, we should be alright.”
Matches kick off from 1.30pm.
1.30pm: under-18s, Muswellbrook v Scone
2.45pm: Old Boys, Aberdeen v Indigenous
3.30pm: first grade, Aberdeen v Muswellbrook