Local clubs support Indigenous Round

AFL Sapphire Coast’s Bermagui Breakers and Eden Whalers’ annual Indigenous Round match is highlight on the calendar. Nicholas Hoskins, Trevor Thomas, Byron Lonsdale Patten, Matthew Parsons, Clyde Parsons, Bruce Thomas. Photo: Maddy O’Connor

AFL NSW/ACT commends all the leagues, clubs, teams, players and supporters who recognise First Nations culture and players, and their impact on Australian rules football by hosting an Indigenous Round during the 2024 season.

Right across NSW and the ACT, local football clubs are once again going above and beyond, throwing58 their support behind Indigenous culture and people involved in the game. Whether clubs have deep Indigenous connections or are inspired by First Nations people on and off the field and want to show their support, the AFL NSW/ACT community embraces Indigenous Round in myriad ways from first grade seniors to NAB AFL Auskick.

The elite AFL ranks have formally celebrated Indigenous Round, known as Sir Doug Nicholls Round, since 2005 and local footy clubs have embraced the concept. This year, NSW and ACT clubs have designed special jumpers, invited Elders to matches to deliver Welcome to Countries, held smoking ceremonies and arranged activities to better connect their communities to Indigenous history and cultures.

Head of AFL NSW/ACT, Tiffany Robertson, is proud of how clubs across the region embrace Indigenous Round. “Indigenous Round is one of the great moments in our local footy season,” she said.

“It highlights our football community’s willingness to learn about, listen to and engage in First Nations culture at the grassroots.

“I’m incredibly proud of our volunteers at so many clubs across the state and territory who take the time to meticulously plan and carry out Indigenous Round celebrations. Thank you to everyone participating this weekend and throughout Indigenous Round.”

AFL North Coast: The Grafton Tigers play its annual Indigenous Round match against Sawtell-Toormina Saints. Photo: Captured by KJ

Unlike the AFL, where Sir Doug Nicholls Round is held over two weeks, Indigenous Round can be celebrated by local clubs across NSW and the ACT whenever clubs feel appropriate.

It’s not too late for clubs in NSW and the ACT to host an Indigenous Round. There are ideas and tips on how to get started in AFL NSW/ACT’s Indigenous Round Guide and in the  AFL’s Themed Round Guide for 2024.

Below is a small selection of clubs from across NSW and the ACT celebrating Indigenous Round:

AFL North CoastSawtell-Toormina / GraftonIndigenous dance, dreamtime story and Welcome to Country. Traditional fixture for the round, both teams wearing Indigenous guernseys and colours are red, yellow, black (and white).18/05Richardson Park, Sawtell
AFL North WestGunnedah Bulldogs / Tamworth KangaroosIndigenous dance, dreamtime story and acknowledgement of country. Both teams to wear Indigenous guernseys25 MayWolseley Oval, Gunnedah
AFL HCCNewcastle City JuniorsSmoking ceremony and Welcome to Country, ochre body painting for Indigenous players, art and storytelling2 JuneNo 1 Sportsground/ Connolly Oval
AFL SydneyWestern MagicIndigenous Round jumpers, Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony11/05Blacktown International Sportspark
AFL Sydney JuniorsSt IvesIndigenous Round jumpers, smoking ceremony19/05Acron Oval, St Ives
AFL Central WestBathurst GiantsIndigenous Round jumpers, smoking ceremony, Welcome to Country, clap sticks presented to best on ground15/05George Park, Bathurst
AFL CanberraTuggeranong ValleyIndigenous Round jumpers, Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony11/05Greenway Oval, Tuggeranong
AFL South CoastNorthern DistrictsIndigenous Round jumpers, Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony1/06Hollymount Oval, Woonona
AFL Sapphire CoastBermagui BreakersIndigenous Round jumpers, Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony24/05Dickinson Oval, Bermagui
AFL RiverinaWagga SwansIndigenous Round jumpers, Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony2/06Anderson Oval, Wagga Wagga
AFL Broken HillWhole competitionIndigenous Round jumpers, Welcome to Country, smoking ceremonyNAIDOC WeekJubilee Oval