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Boots for Brighter Futures Initiative Returns for Indigenous Round

The Sydney Roosters will proudly wear specially designed boots this Friday in the NRL’s Indigenous Round, as the Club joins forces with the Cultural Choice Association for the Boots for Brighter Futures initiative.  

Indigenous students from Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College and Belmont High School designed a total of 24 pairs of boots that will be a focal point on field when the Roosters take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Oval.


Now in its fifth year, the initiative focuses on encouraging participants to destigmatise their feelings surrounding mental health while increasing their sense of culture and pride through building resilience. 

The young artists are encouraged to share their stories and express their sense of pride and identity through their work on the boots. Many students elected to incorporate motifs that reflected players journeys to the NRL, as well as symbols that display their cultural heritage. 

Blake Haskew designed New Zealand representative Brandon Smith’s boots, paying tribute to the hooker’s journey into the NRL. 

“On Brandon’s boots I included the logo of his junior club the Waiheke Rams,” Haskew said.

“To make it more personal I also painted a block of cheese on the left boot because his nickname is the cheese.”

Belmont High School student Amelia Ridley was tasked with designing Fletcher Baker’s boots. Her artwork tells Baker’s story from growing up in Muswellbrook to debuting for the Roosters.  

“When I was painting Fletcher’s boots I thought about his family and his connection to culture,” Ridley said. 

“The bird on the side of the right boot is a wedge tailed eagle, which is the totem of the Wonnarua people, who are the traditional owners of Muswellbrook, where Fletcher grew up.

Amelia Ridley presents Fletcher Baker his boots following a smoking ceremony on Monday afternoon.
Amelia Ridley presents Fletcher Baker his boots following a smoking ceremony on Monday afternoon.

“In my research I also found that Fletcher has four immediate family members, so I included them at a meeting place on the side of the boot to signify everyone coming together.”

The Sydney Roosters will wear the boots this week when they face the St George Illawarra Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Oval in the NRL’s Indigenous Round. The boots will be auctioned through the Cultural Choice Association, who will invest all the proceeds into the program.  

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters 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.