The AFL has launched the 2013 Indigenous Round along with AFL St Kilda player Nicky Winmar.
Round Nine of the Toyota AFL Premiership season will celebrate the theme ‘Identity’, inspired by the 20 year anniversary of Nicky Winmar’s extraordinary stance at Victoria Park.
AFL Head of Diversity Jason Mifsud said Nicky’s moment has played an integral part in the identity of our game.
“Raising his guernsey, Nicky created an unforgettable symbol of identity – purpose and pride in his Aboriginality.
“This year we are celebrating the theme identity which recognises Indigenous cultures, customs and traditions, across the 320 nations and 500 language groups.
“Indigenous Round is a celebration of our country’s Indigenous players and their contribution which has shaped Australia’s Game – a game that unites us all, players and fans, standing as one.”
“A number of events will be happening across Australia this week to recognise the Round, with the flagship event being the ‘Dreamtime at G’ match in Melbourne between Richmond and Essendon.
“This week is also an opportunity for the players to share their stories about their own country and their Indigenous identity.”
Essendon’s Patrick Ryder, of the Watjarri mob reflected on the importance of staging Indigenous Round.
“Indigenous Round not only allows us to showcase the talent that Indigenous people bring to the game but helps celebrate the huge impact AFL has on indigenous players and its communities,” Patrick Ryder said.
In 2013 there are 67 Indigenous players.
Highlights of Indigenous Round include:
All Indigenous Round matches will feature the Indigenous Round Sherrin. Designed by artist Marcus Lee, the art on the Sherrin symbolises the celebration of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players who have successfully elevated their talent to AFL level. The circular rings and dots cluster showcases the continuous cycle of prominent and emerging players – now regarded as modern day warriors.
Synthetic replicas of the Indigenous Round Sherrin are available at selected Rebel Sport and Target stores nationally and Sherrin will donate 10 per cent of sales to support the employment of Indigenous trainees via AFL SportsReady.
All nine Indigenous Round matches will feature a Welcome to Country ceremony; a symbolic ceremony where the traditional custodians of the land welcome members of the wider community.
For the third year in a row, the centre circle at all AFL matches will be painted in the red, black and yellow colours of the Aboriginal flag.
A number of clubs have Indigenous Round themed jumpers which will be worn by players during their Round Nine clash.
NAB AFL Auskick matches at half time of all AFL matches during Indigenous Round will involve mainly Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander players.
The AFL and Rio Tinto will conduct the Footy Means Business camp in Melbourne this week. Now in its third year, the Footy Means Business program provides 18 to 24-year-old Indigenous men with exposure to elite AFL programs and training, along with networking opportunities in corporate environments to strengthen employment and leadership skills.
Curtain-raisers: Rio Tinto Cup played between Footy Means Business participants will play prior to the Dreamtime at the G match. The match commences at 4pm Saturday May 25. The match will be broadcast by Southern Cross Television in Darwin and Central Australia. Radio coverage will be provided across the country by the National Indigenous Radio Service.
The Aboriginal Power Cup Boys and Girls grand final will be held from 11.25am at AAMI Stadium on Saturday 25 May as a curtain-raiser to the Port Adelaide v Geelong game
There will be a pre-game ceremony to mark Indigenous Round at the Brisbane Lions v Carlton game at the Gabba, involving dancers from the Murri School and singers from the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts.
The ninth annual Dreamtime at the G match on Saturday night between Richmond and Essendon. Pre-match entertainment features a performance from Street Warriors, Archie Roach, Neil Murray and Christine Anu.
At half time of the Dreamtime clash Archie Roach will perform for the first time ‘The Colour of Your Jumper’, a song he wrote for Nicky Winmar.
The Long Walk celebration will kick off at 2pm, Saturday May 25 at Federation Square. The Long Walk will depart Birrarung Marr at approximately 6.30pm and continue through, over the William Barrack Bridge to the MCG.
For the first time Sydney will host the Long Walk from Homebush Stadium, through Catherine Freeman Park followed by a lap of SKODA stadium before GWS Giants take on the West Coast Eagles.
There will also be a Long Walk into TIO Stadium prior to the Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide match in Darwin, on Saturday June 1.