Mam receives deadly support from Renouf and his people

Joel Gould |

Broncos star Ezra Mam (middle front) received support at the Deadly Choices launch with the club.
Broncos star Ezra Mam (middle front) received support at the Deadly Choices launch with the club.

Brisbane legend Steve Renouf and the Deadly Choices organisation he represents have thrown their emphatic support behind Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam.

Deadly Choices, which promotes health lifestyles in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, launched the 11th year of their partnership with the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Monday.

Sydney Roosters prop Spencer Leniu faced the NRL judiciary on Monday night, where he was handed an eight-match ban after pleading guilty to a racial slur of the Broncos No.6 in Las Vegas.

The Deadly Choices launch was not about Leniu. It was about the people Mam represents.

Indigenous legends including Willie Tonga and children from the Murri School were on hand to lend their support for Mam and the Broncos as they wore Deadly Choices shirts with Indigenous motifs.

“It is all about support for Ezra, and Deadly Choices are right behind him and here for him,” Renouf told AAP.

“I have also told Ezra that I am here to support him.

“The Broncos are doing a great job getting around him. There is a lot being said out in the public by people who have varying opinions. It is important that we are all there for him.”

Steve Renouf
Steve Renouf has provided strong support for Ezra Mam. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

Renouf, who held a press conference at the launch, later said he was proud of Mam for standing up to racism.

“For him to stand up shows how proud he is as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boy,” he said.

“He stood up for his people … and there is a reason for that because he grew up in a strong family and stands up for what he believes in.”

Mam’s late grandparents Steve and Pamela Mam helped raise the now 21-year-old in the Ipswich suburb of Goodna and were inspirational community leaders.

Pamela was a trailblazer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. 

She was one of the first Indigenous nurses in Queensland and, along with Steve, was a co-founder of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service.

Steve, an ATSIC regional councillor for 15 years, was also a co-founder of the Black Community Housing Service and was named NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year in 2005

Deadly Choices also has an affiliation with the Sydney Roosters. 

Renouf said the key moving forward was education about respect for people of all backgrounds.

“Unfortunately there hasn’t been enough education across the country,” he said.

“That is the good thing about Deadly Choices. You don’t have to be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to be involved and you get to learn a lot about our culture.”

Renouf has experienced racism on and off the field.

“It is not OK. I grew up with that around me,” he said.

“We had a strong family and I was brought up to be resilient but times are a-changing. 

“I see these young (Indigenous) players in the NRL speaking their mind. Good on them.”