Indigenous team can 'grind it out' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Indigenous team can 'grind it out'

By Laine Clark 10/02/2010 07:21:43 PM Comments (0)

Only a brave man would call 194cm, 112kg NSW Origin forward Tom Learoyd-Lahrs soft.

But the Canberra Raiders giant revealed on Wednesday that was the tag he and his fellow Indigenous All Stars forwards would be trying to ditch in their historic clash at Skilled Park on Saturday night.

The strikepower of the Indigenous team ahead of their inaugural clash with the NRL All Stars speaks for itself.

However, Learoyd-Lahrs admitted the forwards would have a point to prove after a sobering address on Monday night from Indigenous All Stars assistant, and legendary hardman, Gorden Tallis.

The Raiders enforcer said Tallis had delivered some home truths in camp, telling the big boppers that it was time for them to ditch the cruel stigma that indigenous forwards were "soft" or "lazy".

With Tallis' words still ringing in his ears, the Canberra forward admitted their pack were determined to prove that indigenous players were more than just entertainers this weekend.

"There's a stereotype that we are looked at as a more flamboyant style of player," Learoyd-Lahrs told AAP.

"I suppose you just have to look at the indigenous players of the past.

"Of course the ability is there to throw the ball around but if it comes down to an arm wrestle I assure you we are ready to roll our sleeves up.

"I think we might be underrated as a forward pack.

"But I know that, if it comes down to the wire, these boys are more than willing to grind it out, no doubt about that."

Learoyd-Lahrs, 24, is getting used to proving the doubters wrong.

Switching from the Broncos to Canberra in 2006, the bruising forward endured three seasons frustrated by injury and suspension before displaying the destruction everyone knew he was capable of in 2009.

After being 18th man for Origin II, Learoyd-Lahrs made his NSW debut in game three.

"I had a period of three years there where I really struggled to string games together so last year was a big experience for me," he said.

"I played a lot of footy, played Origin and now on top of that earned a spot in this team.

"So getting this game under my belt and hopefully putting in a good performance I can start the year on a real high.

"It just shows that if you can keep at it and come out the other side, anything is possible."

Learoyd-Lahrs said it was hard to compare his Origin and Indigenous call-ups.

He said it was hard to top the passion in the Origin jumper, but admitted he was bursting with pride representing his people this weekend.

"I remember buzzing for days after learning that I had been picked for Origin," he said.

"But the buzz has been the same since hearing about the Indigenous team.

"Without giving away too much, the meetings we have had this week and the people we have had come in to speak to us about the importance of this game - and while realising what it means to indigenous Australians - you can't help but get excited.

"We are about to embark on something that makes history - you can't really describe that."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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