Sydney Roosters utility Connor Watson sat down with the boys from The Rush Hour with Gus, Jude & Wendell to discuss why his off-field achievements are the biggest of his career.
Watson started the Boots for a Brighter Future program following his cousin’s suicide in 2017.
As a result of the family tragedy, Watson created a foundation that has now formed an integral part of NRL’s Indigenous Round yearly.
Rugby League players across various clubs wear boots decorated with Indigenous artwork by 43 youths across New South Wales and Queensland.
‘It’s a charity for Indigenous youth mental health and prevention of Indigenous youth suicide,’ said Watson.
Whilst playing for the Newcastle Knights, it was a teammate of non-Indigenous heritage that helped it all come into fruition.
‘How Boots for Brighter started was after having a conversation with Aidan Guerra.
‘He isn’t an Indigenous man but grew up in Townsville and grew up with a lot of Murris – a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
‘He asked me to get his boots painted for him for Indigenous Round.
‘I thought it was awesome that he wanted to learn more about Indigenous culture and represent Australia’s first nations people.’
The kind gesture from Guerra inspired Watson.
The Roosters star found the initiative to create a beautiful, successful program.
‘He sparked an idea in my head to see if any of the other boys were keen.
‘All the Knights players donated their boots and I was working closely with the Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel.
‘We got those kids and other guys in Indigenous programs to paint the boots and it all came from there.’
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