AFL NSW/ACT celebrates Sir Doug Nicholls Round

AFL NSW/ACT is proud to celebrate 2018 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round, with footy clubs across New South Wales and the ACT acknowledging and paying tribute to the significant contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made to our game.

AFL NSW/ACT CEO Sam Graham said he is thrilled to see the New South Wales and ACT footy communities come together to celebrate the historical and ongoing contribution made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, coaches, umpires, officials and volunteers to the game.

“Right across our football community, from our elite Clubs through to junior footy, our code acknowledges and celebrates Aboriginal people and their culture,” Graham said.

“Sir Doug Nicholls Round provides a platform for our fans and participants to engage with important stories and moments from our history and provides a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of important social issues.”

“It’s great to see so many of our community clubs celebrating and embracing the round with various activities across the week. Many of our clubs are also developing deep and meaningful partnerships with community leaders and Aboriginal organisations such as AIME and the GO Foundation, who are doing such valuable work.”

Tonight, the Sydney Swans will host Marn Grook at the SCG, against Carlton. A number of special events will be held in the lead up to the game, including a guard of honour from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, a smoking ceremony and a performance from Indigenous Australian rapper Briggs. At half-time, Indigenous Auskickers from across the State and Territory will have the opportunity to showcase their skills on the hallowed turf of the SCG.

Playing away in Adelaide this weekend, on Saturday 9 June, the GWS GIANTS will back up and don their Indigenous guernsey again for their home crowd when they take on the Gold Coast Suns at Spotless Stadium at 4:35pm.

Celebrations for Sir Doug Nicholls Round will extend far beyond the SCG and Spotless Stadium with football teams from Shellharbour to Sawtell set to play in special Indigenous guernseys and celebrate with a range of activities this weekend.

In the AFL Sydney competition, the Balmain Tigers Football Club host the Western Magic in the second annual Pemulwuy Shield. The day has extra meaning for Balmain this year as the game also marks their return to their spiritual home, Birchgrove Oval. Activities on the day include a Welcome to Country, traditional dancing and music and a smoking ceremony, and the club will wear Indigenous guernsey’s designed by local indigenous artist, Peta Joy Williams. A highlight of the day for Balmain will be players standing to attention as teammates Teela Reid and Thomas Mayor share the original Uluru Statement from the Heart with all in attendance.

Growthbuilt Sydney University Australian National Football Club is celebrating the occasion with a range of activities, including the launch of its inaugural Indigenous guernsey. Designed by club member Yarlalu Thomas, the guernsey will be worn by both the NEAFL and Sydney Premier Division squads this weekend.

As well as recognising the efforts of past and present Indigenous footballers, SUANFC’s Indigenous Round also promotes the fantastic work of two community partners in Fair Game and AIME. Fair Game supports Indigenous communities through the distribution of recycled sports equipment while AIME provides Indigenous students with mentoring and tutoring programs.

Yarlalu Thomas praised the major role both charitable organisations play in allowing for more equal opportunities in Indigenous communities.

“Charitable groups like Fair Game and AIME help close the gap in Indigenous communities, where it may be hard for them to obtain equipment to play footy or sport and also to bridge the gap between university and schooling”, he said.

In the Sutherland Shire, Southern Power’s Women’s Premier Division team and the Southern Masters team will be wearing Indigenous themed guernseys designed by player Rheanna Lotter.

Lotter has previously designed uniforms for sporting teams including the 2018 Australian Winter Paralympics squad, the GWS GIANTS 2017 Indigenous Round, the Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers. Southern Power and Southern Masters will also be fundraising for the GO Foundation and holding a number of match day activities.

Other clubs to support Sir Doug Nicholls Round include the Newtown Breakaways, who will be fundraising for the GO Foundation, the Shellharbour City Suns who will be donning an Indigenous guernsey designed by player Michael Talbott and hold a smoking ceremony and the Pennant Hills Demons Juniors.

These clubs follow a number of other teams and footy clubs from across the state and territory who began celebrating this special occasion last weekend.

In Sydney, the Western Sydney Magpies Juniors and Western Wolves Women’s teams held ceremonies, with Bundjalung woman Zoe Betar painting the match day football and speaking to all players about the history of Marn Grook.

The Bathurst Giants wore Indigenous Round guernseys designed by Bathurst local, Josh Sly and the centre square was painted with the Aboriginal flag.

The Cardiff Hawks in the Hunter region partnered with Aboriginal organisation Yarnteen to deliver their Indigenous Round and celebrated with a dance group, face painting, an Indigenous market and teams wore an Indigenous guernsey.

On the North Coast of NSW, Sawtell Toormina Junior Football welcomed Koori dancers, hosted charity auctions and offered an acknowledgement of country in language.

In the ACT, both Marist and the Tuggeranong Hawks continued their club traditions with smoking ceremonies, a Welcome to Country and Indigenous guernseys.

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