Thurston applauds NSW anthem boycotters
MAROONS legend Johnathan Thurston would not have joined the national anthem boycott at Suncorp Stadium next week but feels it's time for a referendum on its future.
"I commend Cody and Josh for doing something they strongly believe in,'' Thurston told The Courier-Mail.
"It is creating a conversation about it in the wider community about the anthem and how some first nation people feel it does not represent them. Cody has stated that.''
Thurston said he sang the anthem for family reasons but it was "definitely'' time for a referendum on whether Australia needs a more inclusive anthem.
"My view is my family members have fought wars under the flag and the anthem so I always sung it.''
Asked whether he would have sung the anthem next week had he still be playing, Thurston said "It is a tough one but I would still sing it because I was very proud of my family's military history. But in saying that I think it's great they have taken a stance.
"I also think Australia needs to be educated about its history. We have come a long way from where we were but we have a long way to go. Australians needs to be educated what our culture has endured since colonisation."
Indigenous Queensland winger Dane Gagai agreed it was time for a debate.
"Someone has to make the decision whether it changes,'' Gagai said. "I guess the anthem came at a time when indigenous people were not looked upon well.''
When asked whether he planned to sing, Gagai said: "For me, I just tend to sit there and look at my family. I guess it is just one of those things.''
Former Maroon centre now assistant Queensland coach Justin Hodges said he always sang the anthem but has no issue with Blues stars not singing.