Importantly, it’s not lost on the Roosters nor Deadly Choices that Beetson’s own likeness, as portrayed by his niece Bianca Beetson, becomes the pivotal artwork featured as part of the inaugural Roosters Deadly Choices shirt.
The Roosters Deadly Choices shirts are emblazoned with related artworks produced by Bianca, which will now be available as an incentive for any Indigenous person who undertakes a 715 health check at a participating community-controlled health clinic throughout Australia.
“We’re proud to partner with Deadly Choices and deliver on Arthur Beetson’s vision of providing quality health care for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia,” said Roosters COO Jarrod Johnstone.
“Our past and present players are truly invested in the ideals of what Deadly Choices represents. We are committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to make healthy choices for themselves and their families and encourage regular health checks,” he added.
Today’s unveiling of the Roosters Deadly Choices shirt featuring the image of one of the game’s most outstanding servants, represents a full-circle moment for IUIH CEO Adrian Carson.
“I’d really like to thank and acknowledge the support of the Roosters in making this arrangement a reality and we look forward to seeing where the partnership can take us with respect to making positive health impacts among communities right across Australia,” confirmed Carson.
“Through Bianca’s artwork this is a more than appropriate and outstanding nod to a man who advocated so strongly for our people, and who achieved so much on behalf of the Roosters and ofcourse the national and international sporting arenas.
“He was our people’s first national captain of any sporting code and led the way for many more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to follow.
“I recall delivering a speech at the launch of the inaugural Queensland Murri Carnival in 2011. It was the early days for Deadly Choices, and of all the people in attendance, it was Arthur Beetson who found me at the back of the room, and we yarned for the next hour.
“Not long after he had passed. The sadness that he died at the age which was the average, in terms of the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous men, he died at that age that we continue to try to close, so all that said to us the importance of what we’re doing.”
Artist Bianca Beetson explains the associated meanings behind the artwork as featured on both Deadly Choices health check shirt versions:
2023 NRL Indigenous Rd version: The vibrant design features unique Indigenous symbols that detail inspiring leader, Arthur Beetson’s journey and impact on not only on the Red, White, and Blue, but on everyone he met.
Retro version: The artwork on the retro Roosters shirt version was featureed on the team’s Legends Round jersey in 2016, which pays tribute to the late and great legend of rugby league Arthur Beetson, who was in his own words "a very proud Australian, a very proud Queenslander, but also a very proud Aboriginal." The text in which his portrait was created reflects his attitude to life, no matter what life throws at you, you have to keep ‘playin’ on’. The text touches on his experience of growing up Aboriginal, his positive approach to racism on and off the field and also draws on quotes reflecting his grandeur on the field. The symbols surrounding him are Totems of the Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast; which include the Bunya Pine & the native bee. Arthur's Mother Marie was Kabi Kabi and his Father Bill was Waradjuri from NSW.