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Raiders helping to Close the Gap

Raiders are proud to announce that they will be supporting the Close the Gap campaign this Sunday against the Brisbane Broncos.
Raiders helping to Close the Gap
by NRL

Raiders are proud to announce that they will be supporting the Close the Gap campaign this Sunday against the Brisbane Broncos.

Close the Gap is Australia's largest ever campaign to improve the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people is more than a decade less than for other Australians and the Raiders will be asking all our supporters to pledge their support on Sunday to Close the Gap.

Even though Indigenous people make up just 3% of the total population, 12% of all current NRL players are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

They include Canberra Raiders stars such as Joel Thompson, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Blake Ferguson, Travis Waddell, Reece Robinson, Edrick Lee and Jack Wighton, which makes rugby league the perfect vehicle to promote the cause.

A proud Indigenous All Stars representative, Thompson has described the opportunity to assist in closing the gap as an honour.

"Ever since I started playing in the NRL it's always been a privilege to have young kids looking up to me. Sport is a big thing in Aboriginal communities so to be seen as a role model by them makes me want to be able to provide a good example to them all.

"With the NRL dedicating this round to Closing the Gap it's a great way to close that gap between Aboriginal people's health and life expectancy and that of non-indigenous Australians. Eating healthily and playing sports such as rugby league is a great way to close the gap in health inequality."

Rugby league teaches us the value of teamwork and supporting your mates. Terry Campese believes closing the life expectancy gap requires a team effort by all Australians.

"It's a great initiative that the NRL has got going on and all of us here at the Raiders are proud to be able to support the cause," Campese enthused.

"There's unfortunately a lot of a difference in the life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians and hopefully we are able to raise more awareness of this issue."

Campese is able to witness firsthand the positive effect Aboriginal and Torres Strait NRL stars can have on the wider community.

"The actions of guys like Joel and Tommy (Learoyd-Lahrs) have a massive impact on kids and Aboriginal kids in particular. When we go to schools and out to community carnivals and things like that all of the young indigenous kids look up to those boys that played for the Indigenous All Stars.

"They're their idols so any positive messages that they have the kids are willing to take on board. Rugby league has a lot of indigenous representatives so the more that they get out there and speak more about the certain problems the better.

"It's definitely important to eat healthy to get the energy throughout the day to be able to concentrate. It's important in rugby league and important as a young kid going to school. It's a long day at school and you want to get the most out of your learning so you want to eat the right food to get the best energy from it."

With over 178,000 Australians signed up to the Close the Gap pledge, the Raiders are calling on all attendees on Sunday's match against the Brisbane Broncos pledge their support to further aid in Closing the Gap.

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