In 2016, the AFL’s annual round recognising and celebrating indigenous players and culture has been renamed in honour of Sir Doug Nicholls (previously Indigenous Round). This will occur in Round 10 of the AFL Toyota Premiership Season and AFL Cairns Round 8 Fixture (Saturday, 28th May 2016).
Indigenous Round celebrates the connection between the game and Indigenous Australia by linking AFL fans/players/coaches/volunteers/staff to the Indigenous culture.
Australian football is the sport of choice for Indigenous Australians. The Indigenous population makes up two and a half percent of the total Australian population; from this, 90,000 participants are involved with AFL programs around the country. Indigenous Players make up 9% of our AFL list.
In late 2015, the AFL announced that moving forward, Indigenous Round will be renamed in honour for one of Australia’s most famous indigenous, Sir Doug Nicholls. The AFL Commission decided to name the round after Sir Doug following a discussion at the league’s indigenous advisory council.
Sir Doug, who epitomised the spirit of reconciliation, played 54 games for Fitzroy and was a brilliant all-round athlete. Sir Doug played his 50+ games for Fitzroy in the 1930s and was the first Indigenous Player to represent Victoria.
AFL wasn’t Nicholls only specialty, he was also a talented boxer and sprinter. Post career, Doug because a Churches of Christ pastor and was knighted in 1972.
Sir Doug was the first indigenous person to be knighted and have the role of state governor. He was governor of SA for five months in 1976-77, resigning because of ill health, and he died in 1988.
Sir Doug Nicholls was devoted to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Sir Doug is the great-grandfather of former Essendon player Nathan Lovett-Murray.
“Sir Doug Nicholls is the great untold story of Australian football and he represented both the values of our game and epitomized the spirit of reconciliation,” said AFL chief executive Gill McLachlan.
“He was a pioneering campaigner for reconciliation, but his love for and commitment to Australian football was the glue that brought together all the other facets of his life.”
Traditionally, AFL Cairns has celebrated Indigenous Round through the Cairns City Lions vs. North Cairns ‘Dreamtime by the Sea’ match; however in 2016 we are encouraging other Clubs to support the Round. Indigenous Round (Saturday, 28th May 2016) will have the following AFL Cairns Venues:
- Holloways Beach SC – Cairns City Lions vs North Cairns
- Griffiths Park – Cairns Saints vs. South Cairns
- Port Douglas SC – Port Douglas vs. Manunda Hawks
- Power Park – Pyramid Power vs. Centrals TB (Reserves)
The following traditional symbols are a suggested way in which indigenous Round can be celebrated at community football venues;
- Nominate an Indigenous Community leader to toss the coin;
- Nominate an Indigenous Player/s to be the Club’s coin toss representative
- Undertake an acknowledge or welcome to country (please see below)
- Display the Indigenous and Torres Strait Island Flags
- Invite past indigenous players back to your club
- Paint the centre circle in Indigenous colours
- Website/Media content that tell your club’s link to the Indigenous culture.
All Venues will partake in a small acknowledgement of this community event. At a minimum, competing teams will conduct an Acknowledge or Welcome to Country Pre-Game (in between Reserves & Seniors).
|Suggested Ceremony Timings|
|7 minutes prior (02:53pm)||
Teams Line Up
Welcome to Country/Acknolwedge of Country
|2 minutes prior (02:58pm)||Coin Toss|
|Game Time (03:00pm)||Match Commences|
AFL Cairns hopes that Clubs recognise the importance of this date and take part in celebrating Indigenous Round in some way (as above).
AFL Cairns – it’s a great game!