In what is one of the most loved and respected sporting events of the year, Richmond and Essendon clashed tonight for their headline match during the Indigenous Round. For the third consecutive year, the two football clubs created War Cry performances as part of the pre-game ceremony for Dreamtime at the ‘G.
The performances were in collaboration with The Wurundjeri Land Council and dancers.
For the Tigers, the performance had a special connection to their Club with current participants and Alumni of their Korin Gamadji Institute and Next Generation Academy taking part. Their dance was inspired by ‘Kooyang’ the eel, ‘Bunjil’ the Wedge-tailed Eagle, and ‘Lagunta’ the Tasmanian Tiger.
This year the annual round was in honour of Sir Doug Nicholls. Nicholls, who played 54 games for Fitzroy, was the first Aboriginal person to be knighted.
Nicholls was also the Governor of South Australia and devoted much of his life to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Wurundjeri elder Uncle Bill Nicholson performed the Welcome to Country ceremony saying, “Tonight’s ceremony and musical performance will symbolise the spirit of understanding, respect, resilience, healing, and reconciliation.”
You can watch Uncle Bill’s full address below:
Senator Patrick Dodson, for Western Australia, also delivered some powerful words about “the vicious cycle of injustice”.
“Indigenous people are more likely to come to the attention of the police. They’re more likely to be arrested and charged. Indigenous people who are charged are more likely to go to court. Indigenous people who are sent to court are more likely to go to jail. Indigenous youth are 50 per cent of the incarcerated youth in detention centres. Facts speak for themselves.”
Afterwards, Indigenous rapper Briggs performed.
The ceremony also featured the talents of Spinifex Gum and Marliya of Gondwana Choirs.
You can listen to Senator Dodson’s words below:
All 18 clubs will wear indigenous-themed Guernseys throughout the round.
In tonight’s clash, the Tigers took the win with a 71-point lead.
Shane Edwards won his first Yiooken Award for best on the ground.