Melbourne Storm’s deadly off-field partnership to improve Indigenous health has been refreshed to mark the NRL’s 2022 Indigenous Round this week.
Storm began its official partnership with Deadly Choices, an initiative of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health last season, in conjunction with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS). Such has been the depth of initial successes, the deal has grown by another 12 months.
VAHS CEO Michael Graham said the partnership would continue to provide extensive short and long-term benefits to Victorian communities.
“Deadly Choices encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make healthy choices such as stopping smoking, eating good food, exercising daily and getting your annual health check,” Mr Graham said.
“The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service operates the Deadly Choices program in Melbourne, and through the Storm partnership we’ve already seen how the Deadly Choices messaging is optimised throughout local communities.
“The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service is proud to be associated with the Melbourne Storm based on the club’s own strong ties to the Aboriginal community.”
Storm’s NRL squad highlighted its support of Deadly Choices today by donning specially branded jerseys at their Captains’ Run training session prior to the Indigenous Round match against Manly at AAMI Park.
Storm will wear their 2022 Indigenous jerseys against the Sea Eagles tomorrow night and Deadly Choices messaging will feature during the Indigenous Round gameday presentation.
Another Storm Indigenous initiative, the Storm First Nations Pathway Program supported by Coles, has already shown its value with initial program members AJ Gudgeon and Seamus King-Smith continuing to be part of the Storm system past their original finishing date after impressing during the pre-season.
Gudgeon, a 19-year-old Noongar man who came to Storm from the CQ Capras in Rockhampton, has earned a promotion to a development contract with Storm from 2023 after signing on for another two years this week.
Storm also continues to work with Indigenous organisations such as Dardi Munwurro which has a vision to build stronger families and safer communities.
“Storm is proud to have been the home to 17 Indigenous players in our history, dating back to the start of our club,” Storm CEO Justin Rodski said.
“Our ties to the Indigenous community are strong and they are meaningful, but we continue to work on making them stronger through partners such as Deadly Choices.
“A Deadly Choice is a good choice, and we’re keen to help get the message out there so more of those healthy choices are being made each day.”