NOWRA-born Cody Walker says he has received both support and backlash in the wake of his comments about the Australian national anthem.
Walker drew headlines after the Indigenous All Stars' win over the Maori All Stars in Melbourne last month when he said Advance Australia Fair should not have been played prior to the match.
"To be honest, no," Walker said last month when asked if he felt the anthem should have been played. "It just brings back so many memories from what's happened, and it's something everyone as a group and everyone in Australia needs to, I suppose, get together and work something out. It doesn't represent myself and my family."
While supported by prominent Indigenous rugby league figures - including Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga - Walker still received his fair share of criticism in the weeks since.
"I have got a lot of support but I have also had a lot of backlash," Walker said ahead of his side's round one match against the Roosters.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The opinions that matter to me are the ones that are closest to me and that’s my family. They back me and whatever decision I make and that’s all that matters."
The backlash has not changed Walker's stance on the matter. He still believes a mature conversation about the anthem must be had if Indigenous people are to embrace it in the same way Maori people do in New Zealand.
"I still back what I said - I still believe that it can be some sort of conversation and I don’t know the right answer but there is something there," he said.
"I come from a small, Indigenous community back home in Casino and it’s a very small population but a large percentage of Indigenous kids.
'I had kids that were really close to me that had the same talent and all that but they just didn’t… I don’t know the answer but I just want to inspire kids to do better in those communities.
"That’s what I believe in and that is what I will stand by."