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NRL star Latrell Mitchell slams Wallabies for performing an indigenous rendition of national anthem

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NRL star Latrell Mitchell has sparked controversy by slamming Rugby Australia over an indigenous rendition of Advance Australia Fair played before a Wallabies game.   

Proud Wiradjuri woman Olivia Fox sung the Australian anthem in the Indigenous Eora language before the Tri Nations rugby union game between the Australia Wallabies and Argentina at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on Saturday night. 

It was the first time the joint-language song was performed at an international sporting event in Australia.  

Wallabies players learned the words to the Indigenous version so they could sing along.

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While many viewers embraced the powerful moment, the indigenous South Sydney Rabbitohs star didn’t agree and made his feelings known.

NRL star Latrell Mitchell had a different take to many viewers of the anthem rendition

‘When will people understand that changing it to language doesn’t change the meaning!’ he captioned and shared an Australian Wallabies post.

He reiterated his view in a follow up Instagram story.

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Did you like the indigenous version of the national anthem?

‘Be proud but understand what you’re proud of,’ he wrote.

‘I stand for us, our mob! Be proud of the oldest living culture. Always was always will be.’

Mitchell is one of the most outspoken NRL stars who oppose the national anthem and is one of the main driving forces behind the push to stop it being played before games.

He was among a host of stars who refused to sing the anthem at last year’s NRL All Stars game or before the first State of Origin game a few months later.

‘It doesn’t represent my people,’ Mitchell told Seven News last year.

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The 23-year-old said he had a specific issue with the lyrics ‘young and free’.

‘We aren’t young and free. We’re the longest-living culture in the world,’ Mitchell said.

‘I guess just for them words to be in that, it just contradicts the whole anthem for us singing it.

'When will people understand that changing it to language doesn't change the meaning,' Latrell Mitchell said. he's pictured with partner Brielle

‘When will people understand that changing it to language doesn’t change the meaning,’ Latrell Mitchell said. he’s pictured with partner Brielle

National anthems were scrapped in favour of traditional dances at the annual pre-season All-Stars NRL game in February this year after a meeting between indigenous players and the NRL Commission.

‘It’s a step in the right direction, obviously the commissioner of the NRL had a meeting with us and he took the first step for us, and we can’t thank him enough, and I think for us to get this it really means a lot,’  Mitchell said at the time.

‘It’s really good to see the NRL getting behind us and putting the front foot forward and letting us have our voice.’

The Rabbitohs star vowed to continue to speak up for himself and his people, despite being previously subject to racist abuse from online trolls. 

‘I’ll stand proud, that’s who I am, and I’m not going to change for no one,’ Mitchell  said. 

Mitchell reiterated his feelings with this follow-up Instagram story on Saturday night

Mitchell reiterated his feelings with this follow-up Instagram story on Saturday night

It is understood Ms Fox held practice sessions with the Wallabies players to ensure they knew all the words for the performance, to make sure the moment received respect.

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Rugby union fans were positive about the national anthem, with many viewers welcoming the change.

Many claimed it was the best rendition of the national anthem they’d ever heard.

Samoan rugby player Paul Alo-Emile said the Australian anthem was ‘great’.

‘How great was that! Listening to the Aussie anthem being sung in the Eora language of the Gadigal people,’ he wrote on Twitter.

‘Inspiring stuff, well done.’

Influencer Elma Smit said she was almost brought to tears by Ms Fox’s rendition.

Every player from the Wallabies learned the words to the Indigenous verse and sung along, leaving fans touched

Every player from the Wallabies learned the words to the Indigenous verse and sung along, leaving fans touched

Proud Wiradjuri woman Olivia Fox sung the Australian anthem in the Indigenous Eora language before the Tri Nations rugby union game between the Wallabies and Argentina on Saturday night

Many claimed it was the best rendition of the national anthem they'd ever heard

Many claimed it was the best rendition of the national anthem they’d ever heard

‘Am I the only one who who got a bit choked up by Olivia Fox singing the Australian anthem in the indigenous Eora language accompanied by the acoustic guitar’ she tweeted.

‘Beautiful to see the Wallabies players singing along as well.’

‘Just wow. Have never heard the anthem sung in Indigenous language. More of this please!’ another user wrote on Twitter.

‘The Australian anthem at the rugby was quite something,’ another wrote.

‘Best rendition of the anthem I’ve seen live. More of this pls,’ one user said.

Saturday's national anthem is the first time the joint-language song was performed at an international sporting event in Australia. Pictured: Fans singing along

Saturday’s national anthem is the first time the joint-language song was performed at an international sporting event in Australia. Pictured: Fans singing along

Proud Wiradjuri woman Olivia Fox sung the Australian anthem in the Indigenous Eora language before the Tri Nations rugby union game between the Wallabies and Argentina on Saturday night

Proud Wiradjuri woman Olivia Fox sung the Australian anthem in the Indigenous Eora language before the Tri Nations rugby union game between the Wallabies and Argentina on Saturday night

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘That was the best national anthem I have heard anywhere.’

‘Sing in both indigenous language and English. If this is available to purchase let us know.’

Ms Fox, from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts in Sydney’s inner west, has previously been involved in indigenous culture alongside the Wallabies.

She performed the national anthem in the Eora language during the unveiling of the First Nations jersey. 

Controversy has surrounded the Australian national anthem with many people calling for it to be changed as they feel it is not inclusive to Indigenous Australians.

When Kiwi sports teams take the field both the English and Maori versions of the New Zealand anthem is performed.

Advance Australia Fair in Eora language: 

Australiagal ya’nga yabun

Eora budgeri

Yarragal Bamal Yarrabuni

Ngurra garrigarrang

Nura mari guwing bayabuba

Diara-murrahmah-coing

Guwugu yago ngabay burrabagur

Yirribana Australiagal

Garraburra ngayiri yabun

Yirribana Australiagal

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