19 Sep 2020

Patrick Skene: Pacific and Maori influences on the NRL

From Saturday Morning, 10:07 am on 19 September 2020
Patrick Skene

Patrick Skene Photo: supplied

When New Zealand rugby league legend Olsen Filipaina- aka "The Big O" or "The Galloping Garbo" on account of his day job- plied his trade in Australia's National Rugby League he was a trailblazer as a player of Pasific descent.

Now, according to author Patrick Skene, players of Pasifika or Māori heritage make up around half of all NRL players, and dominate the league.

In his book The Big O Skene celebrates the career of a working class hero who overcame racism and depression to play in over 29 Tests and more than 100 first grade games, a pioneer of the 'Pacific Revolution' that reshaped the game