2014 Indigenous Round

Round 11 of the Toyota AFL Premiership season will celebrate the theme ‘When you dream, everything’s possible’ and kicks off in a blockbuster on Thursday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground when the Swans take on the Geelong Cats.

The 2014 AFL Indigenous Round launch was attended by Senator Nigel Scullion, Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, incoming AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, AFL Head of Diversity Jason Mifsud and Sydney Swans star Lance Franklin.

Gillon McLachlan said Indigenous Round celebrates the huge impact Indigenous players and communities have had and continue to have on Australia’s Game.
“This year we are celebrating the theme ‘When you dream, everything’s possible’, inspired by the significant contribution made by Indigenous people and communities, past and present, to the game,” Mr McLachlan said.

“These achievements include the great honour that 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes has brought to the game, the incredible story of Sir Doug Nicholls, the first ever AFL player to be knighted, as well as the 10 year anniversary of the Long Walk and Dreamtime at the G.

“To acknowledge the enduring connection between Indigenous Australia and Australian Football, all 18 AFL clubs will wear an Indigenous-themed guernsey in Round 11, making AFL history and demonstrating that Indigenous Round truly is a national celebration.”

The launch followed yesterday’s announcement that the AFL is building on its strong track record with the establishment of a Reconciliation Action Plan as the next step in its commitment to creating and promoting opportunities for Indigenous communities.

The AFL also announced its partnership with Recognise in support of the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s founding document.

 “Recognise is a campaign which has bipartisan political support and we are pleased to play our role as a member of the community by supporting this initiative to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are appropriately recognised in our nation’s constitution,” Mr McLachlan said.

 “The Recognise campaign will be a feature of every AFL game and fans will see the big R for Recognise at the grounds and on the cover of their Footy Record.”
Adam Goodes reflected on the importance of Indigenous Round and the AFL’s commitment to the Recognise campaign.

“This week is an opportunity for the players to share their stories about their own country and their Indigenous identity,” he said.

“It is also a time to highlight our commitment to the Recgonise campaign. I’m proud of the 40,000-plus years of history of my ancestors, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. And yet that impressive Australian story is still missing from Australia’s founding document. What a great day it will be for our nation when we fix that historic exclusion together.”

 Tanya Hosch, the deputy campaign director for Recognise, said the AFL deserved huge credit for being role models on recognition.

 “The AFL’s Indigenous Round recognises the huge contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players to the game. We want Australians to have the chance to vote at a referendum to recognise in our Constitution the huge contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to our nation.”

Mr. McLachlan also thanked Coles, the AFL’s Indigenous program partner for its ongoing commitment to provide development opportunities for Indigenous players at all levels of the game. 

 “We are proud of our partnership with Coles which provides many Indigenous people with the opportunity to play football at the top level and develop leadership and life skills, while also creating new opportunities such as the introduction of the of the Female Under 18 Kickstart program which saw the Woomeras compete for the first time in the National Youth Girls Championships earlier this month.”

 Coles Managing Director Ian McLeod, said, “We are passionate about our partnership with the AFL and excited to continue our Coles AFL Indigenous Programs again this year. From the Kickstart Championships, Indigenous Coaching Academy and the Indigenous All-Star games, Coles is committed  to supporting the AFL’s Indigenous players at the elite level, as well as the grass-roots footy being played in communities across the country.”

 “In March, Coles also pledged to treble the number of Indigenous team members working in our supermarkets from 1,000 to 3,000 by 2020 to better reflect and support the communities in which we operate.”

In 2014 there are 69 Indigenous players listed at AFL clubs.

Highlights of 2014 Toyota Indigenous Round include:

AFL’s inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan which was launched Monday May 26.

Fans will see the big R for Recognise marked in the centre circle at all AFL matches.

All 18 clubs will wear Indigenous Round themed guernseys designed by Indigenous artists.

All nine Indigenous Round matches will feature the Indigenous Round Sherrin football.
Designed by artist Marcus Lee, the art on the Sherrin football 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 football 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 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.

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 fourth 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.

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 (check details)

The 10th anniversary of Dreamtime at the G match on Saturday night between Essendon and Richmond. Pre-match entertainment features a performance from Kutcha Edwards, Deline Briscoe and Dave Arden.

The 10th anniversary of Long Walk celebration will kick off at 10:30 am with the inaugural Fun Walk around the Tan, followed by a free concert at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl from midday and the Long Walk to Dreamtime at the G, which will depart Sydney Myer Music Bowl at approximately 5.30pm.

The first Long Walk in Queensland will take place in the lead up to the Brisbane Lions v Carlton match which will culminate with a lap of honour at the Gabba. A pre-game ceremony will also help celebrate Indigenous Round in Queensland with Aunty Maroochy Barambah leading the Welcome to Country, the Murri School Dance Group and Scott Campbell, from the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts, performing the national anthem in the Turrbal language.

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