For the first time, Richmond and Essendon will extend its celebrations of Indigenous Round to the VFL, during their Saturday afternoon clash at the ME Bank Centre, Punt Road Oval.
With support from AFL Victoria, the two clubs will play their match this weekend as a curtain-raiser to Dreamtime at the ‘G, despite the VFL’s state game scheduled the same weekend.
To make the most of the occasion and add Indigenous spirit and culture to the match, the VFL Tigers will wear the same Dreamtime guernsey as the AFL team, designed by Indigenous artist, Mick Harding.
A pre-match ceremony and Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy will also take place, with Indigenous young people from the Korin Gamadji Institute’s REAL Program forming a guard of honour as the players run onto the ground.
The REAL Program participants will also hand out gum leaves and offer face painting to the crowd to share their culture and traditions.
The Club has also painted the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags on Punt Road Oval for the special match, as well as the Recognise logo, to support the national campaign for Indigenous Australians to be recognised in the Constitution as the first peoples of this country.
The player voted best-on-ground during the match will receive the inaugural Sir Doug Nicholls Award.
The award is named in honour of former Fitzroy and Northcote Footballer, boxer and runner, Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls. A pioneer in campaigning for Indigenous rights, Nicholls was a man who fought hard to bring about understanding and equality.
Born in 1906, he was a gifted footballer who went on to a successful career in politics, culminating in receiving a knighthood in 1972 and being made Governor of South Australia from 1976-1977.
Fans that cannot attend the VFL match can listen to a live call of the game on Richmond VFL Radio, via Richmond’s official app or online.
Round 9 VFL:
Richmond v Essendon
2pm, Saturday, May 31
ME Bank Centre, Punt Road Oval
Gates open 1pm.
Entry: Free for 2014 Richmond members. Adults $10, concession $5, children under 15 years – free.