Land & Country Theme for Indigenous Round

The 2012 AFL Indigenous Round was launched Nationally in Brisbane today

AFL Indigenous Round kicked off today with a National launch at the AFL Queensland Training and Administration Centre in Yeronga.

Guests included AFL Community Engagement Manager Jason Mifsud, Murri elder Aunty Carol Currie, students from the Murri School and players Ashley McGrath (Brisbane Lions) and Jarrod Harbrow (Gold Coast SUNS).

The 2012 Indigenous Round will celebrate Land and Country, a theme Jason Mifsud explained  as being central to Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders. 

 “While players play for their jumper, they represent and acknowledge their land, communities and people.

“Land defines and inspires players on and off the field. This week is an opportunity for the players to share their stories about their country.

“Australia is made up of over 320 nations with over 500 languages each with its own distinct culture, protocols and connections, but all are brought together by Australia’s game,” he said.

Jarrod Harbrow, of the Yidinjdji mob of Far North Queensland reflected on the importance of staging Indigenous Round.

“Indigenous Round not only allows us to showcase the talent that Indigenous people bring to the gamed but helps celebrate the huge impact AFL has on indigenous players and its communities,” Harbrow said.

Brisbane Lions’ Ash McGrath hails from Wangkathaa in Western Australia. 

“AFL has an enormous impact in Indigenous communities and this has been demonstrated by the amount of great Indigenous talent we now have at AFL level,” McGrath said.

“Indigenous Round is extremely important to acknowledge the contribution that Indigenous communities make to our game.”

In 2012 there are 79 Indigenous players in the AFL. The AFLPA has compiled the players’ countries in an interactive map:
Celebrations at Sunday’s Brisbane Lions Vs Greater Western Sydney match at the Gabba will include a pre-match Welcome to Country by Aunty Carol and a performance by dancers from the Murri School .

 A group combining U15 Queensland Kickstart Team and indigenous female players will form a guard of honour for the Lions players and ex-AFL star Gilbert McAdam will toss the coin.

Half –time Auskick games will feature indigenous children from throughout South-East Queensland.

AFL Indigenous Round Highlights include:

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.

The AFL and Rio Tinto will conduct the Footy Means Business camp in Melbourne this week, culminating on Saturday May 19 with participants playing in the curtain raiser at the AFL Dreamtime at the ‘G match.  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 4.12pm Saturday May 19. The match will be broadcast to the following locations on television: Southern Cross – Darwin & Central markets and GWN7 – Regional WA. Radio coverage will be provided by NIRS into Sydney/Brisbane/Darwin/Perth and various regional centres around Australia. 

The Aboriginal Power Cup Boys and Girls final prior to Port Adelaide v North Melbourne match at AAMI Stadium at 11.35am Saturday May 19.

The eighth annual Dreamtime at the G match on Saturday night between Richmond and Essendon. Pre-match entertainment features a performance from Shane Howard and his band along with Dan Sultan, Amy Saunders, Emma Donovan, William Barton, Bart Willoughby and Tjimba Possum Burns.

The Long Walk will depart Birrarung Marr at 6.30pm Saturday May 19 and continue through, over the William Barrack Bridge to the MCG.

There will also be a Long Walk into TIO Stadium prior to the Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast Suns match in Darwin, on Saturday May 19.

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