State of Origin 2019: Players boycott Australian national anthem before opener

Players from both teams took part in a much-discussed boycott of Australia's national anthem before Wednesday's State of Origin opener. 

In the build-up to the match at Suncorp Stadium, indigenous players Cody Walker, Josh Addo-Carr and Will Chambers had all indicated they would not sing 'Advance Australia Fair'. 

Of the 34 players to take the field for Queensland and NSW, 11 players appeared not to sing during the pre-match ceremony.         

Walker and Addo-Carr were joined in silence by NSW teammates Payne Haas and Latrell Mitchell, while for Queensland, Chambers, Josh Papalii, Dane Gagai, Dylan Napa, Kalyn Ponga, and debutants Joe Ofahengaue and David Fifita appeared not to be singing.    

Several of those players are of New Zealand or Pacific Island heritage.             

Walker brought the issue to light last week, saying he did not believe the anthem represented him or his family.             

Chambers and Addo-Carr both echoed those statements, while former Queensland great Johnathan Thurston said it was time for a referendum on the issue.      

"Australia needs to be educated about its history," said Thurston, who read a 'Welcome to Country' before the anthem was sung.    

"We have come a long way from where we were, but we have a long way to go."             

AAP

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