The Blindside Flick: Race and Rugby League

Drew Cottle, Angela Keys


Abstract

The issue of race was virtually beyond the touchline in Australian rugby league before the 1960s. It was a white man’s game. Institutionalised racism meant that few Aboriginal men played rugby league at the highest professional level. It is now presumed that race and racism has no place in a game where these questions have been historically ‘out of bounds’. The dearth of critical writing in rugby league history indicates that racism in the sport has been subject to a form of social blindness and deemed unworthy of study. Rugby league’s white exclusionist past and the denial of racism in the present era indicate habits of mind which may be described in league argot as the ‘blindside flick’.

Keywords

racialised sport; exclusion; assimilation; whiteness, racial inequalities

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