NRL star Latrell Mitchell has hit out at the Indigenous-themed Australian anthem that was performed ahead of Saturday night’s Wallabies match.
The Indigenous rugby league player wasn’t impressed with the version which featured lyrics from the Eora language, declaring the national anthem still had the same flawed meaning in his eyes.
“When will people understand that changing it to language doesn’t change the meaning!” he wrote on Instagram.
“Be proud but understand what you’re being proud of.
“I stand for us, our mob! Be proud of the oldest living culture.
“Always was, always will be.”
The 23-year-old has been a long-time critic of the Australian anthem and has singled out the words “young and free” as being completely flawed.
“We aren’t young and free. We’re the longest-living culture in the world,” Mitchell previously said.
“I guess just for them words to be in that, it just contradicts the whole anthem for us singing it.”
He is one of a handful of NRL stars to refuse to sing the anthem ahead of key rugby league matches such as State of Origin and NRL All Stars.
“It doesn’t represent my people,” Mitchell told 7NEWS in 2019.
His criticism is at odds with a huge majority of Australians who considered the anthem, performed by proud Wiradjuri woman Olivia Fox, to be a huge step forward for the country.
Australian captain Michael Hooper, who had to settle for a second straight draw with Argentina, said the Wallabies were proud to become the first sporting team to sing the Indigenous version.
Rugby Australia instigated the move to coincide with the side’s wearing of the First Nations jersey.
“We were practising (the Eora version) during the week and our guys were – there was never a question – proud to have the opportunity to do it,” Hooper said.
“I think it sounded pretty good, too. Wearing an Indigenous jersey and singing that in Aboriginal and then English, it was great and it was great to be a part of.”
Fox has previously delivered the Indigenous version of the anthem at Randwick’s Sydney club rugby matches and is fast becoming a national icon.
Australian netballer Kim Green claimed the performance was “the BEST Australian sporting moment I have ever seen,” while former Wallabies star Matt Giteau – married to AFL star Lance Franklin’s sister Bianca – endorsed Rugby Australia’s groundbreaking initiative.
“Special moment in Australian sport – well done,” Giteau tweeted.
“I want to live in an Australia where THIS is our every day,” Aussie cricket star Trent Copeland wrote on Twitter.
“Passion, pride, inclusive & celebratory of ALL. Soooooo goood!”