Indigenous Round is always a significant time of year for silky Mt Gravatt midfielder Jesse Green. To Jesse, it’s special that there’s a time to showcase the incredible contribution that Indigenous culture has made to the game of Aussie rules.
“A lot of the aspects of the game have been taken from the traditional game down in Gunditjmara country, which is part of my country down south, my great grandfather’s country, down there where they used to call it Marngrook,” said Green.
“They kick(ed) around the possum skin and stuff like that, on an open field, open numbers, you know and it’s just free flowing (which) just pretty much sums up AFL to a t.”
Outside of footy, ‘Greeny’ works as a Student Support Officer with the Cape York Leaders Program, supporting students from Cape York, as far north as Bamaga on the very tip of Queensland, who need to board away from their communities in order to go to school.
“It can be very rewarding when those kids obviously go on to graduate, and go on to tertiary studies, but it also comes with . . . you can have your lows as well, so you know, the highs are high and the lows are very low,” said Green.
“Naturally when you’re working with other people all the time, sometimes you need a bit of a release and football’s my release in a way.”
Jesse has also been an Indigenous Programs Co-ordinator with the AFL, where he worked to increase participation in Indigenous communities. So it’s safe to say Jesse has made a career out of helping others.
Growing up as part of a sporty family in Brisbane, he wasn’t familiar with AFL as a youngster and could easily have ended up playing rugby. Luckily for Mt Gravatt, a friend convinced him to come down and have a kick of the footy in the under 14s.
“Obviously the scenery has changed a bit with all the new change rooms, but it’s still the same kind of culture, it’s always been a good community club,” said Green.
“Mum would come down and support and they always made her feel at home down here, so that was a big thing for me.”
When Mt Gravatt run out against Broadbeach on the Gold Coast on Saturday, they’ll be wearing the Indigenous guernsey Jesse designed last year.
“I felt the need, obviously being one of the older crew here at the Vultures, that the club needed an Indigenous jersey,” said Green.
“The design I’ve gone for is actually related to the club and the club history, that’s what I wanted to come through with the actual design of it.”
Jesse might be in the ‘three zeros’ now, as he says, but judging by his output so far this season there’s plenty more exciting footy to look forward to from Jesse Green.
By Sean Melrose