Each year the AFL recognises Sir Doug Nicholls Round in May to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and its contribution to our game.
Community clubs across Queensland and Northern New South Wales mark the occasion with their own celebrations and education sessions from special guernseys, acknowledgement to country and yarns within their own circles.
For the first time this year AFL Queensland’s McDonalds South East Junior competition will take part with more than 15,000 kids from Gympie to Ballina joining in on the celebrations, alongside all AFLQ senior competitions including AFL Townsville, AFL Mackay, AFL Capricornia, AFL Wide Bay, AFL Darling Downs and all QFA competitions, QAFL and Bond University QAFLW.
In another first for this year, AFLQ is proud to announce the SEQ Junior Indigenous Ambassadors for Sir Doug Nicholls Round, Ally Anderson and Keidean Coleman from the Brisbane Lions and Jed Anderson and Kalinda Howarth from the Gold Coast SUNS.
Anderson, a proud Gangulu/Wakka Wakka woman, said it was great to have the juniors on board this year.
“I feel very proud to be able to be an ambassador and role model to our junior players and to be able to represent my family and other Indigenous footy players during this round,” she said.
Coleman was born in the Northern Territory and was raised in a small Aboriginal community called Barunga, 80km Southeast of Katherine.
“It’s special that every Indigenous person in Australia gets to celebrate the beautiful game of AFL and importantly recognise Sir Doug Nichols and the many other great AFL Indigenous role models and their huge contributions to this sport while getting to share our culture across the whole of Australia,” he said.
Sir Doug, who epitomised the spirit of reconciliation, played 54 games for Fitzroy and was a brilliant all-round athlete. He was the first Aboriginal person to be knighted, served as Governor of South Australia, and was devoted to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
SUNS’ Jed Anderson from the Warramunga tribe just outside of Tennant Creek hoped to inspire the next generation of Indigenous footballers.
“I’ve grown up watching footy my whole life and giving back to the community and junior football is a massive part of why I play footy. I want to give them something to aspire to,” he said.
Kalinda Howarth from the Yuin Nation said being named as an ambassador for the round was a huge privilege.
“Growing up as an Aboriginal female in footy, there wasn’t any other Aboriginal female AFL players to aspire to be like. I hope in becoming the junior SDNR ambassador, I can inspire even for just one junior to continue their journey through football,” she said.
All registered junior participants are invited to enter the Sir Doug Nicholls Round colouring competition and Youth Quiz: Sir Doug Nicholls Round Competitions | AFL Queensland
Prizes will be given to two participants chosen from each region which may include Indigenous Footballs for our Wide Bay and Darling Downs participants, and an opportunity to visit either the Brisbane Lions or The Gold Coast Suns (depending on your zone) for an ‘Experience Day’ with the players for our Metro participants.
The Australian Sports Commission has produced a resource containing a collection of games that coaches can include during training sessions to mark the round. ‘Yulunga: Tradition Indigenous Games: can be accessed here: SEQ-Juniors-SDNR-Games.pdf (aflq.com.au)
For more information on how your club can celebrate Sir Doug Nicholls Round visit guide-to-community-football-themed-rounds.pdf (play.afl).