Locals clubs to wear special Indigenous Guernsey

Two local AFL Canberra clubs are throwing their support behind the 2017 Toyota Sir Doug Nicholls Round this weekend, wearing specially designed Indigenous Guernseys and holding ceremonies to celebrate the contribution and legacy of past and present Indigenous players to our game.

The 2017 celebrations will acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, where over 90.7% of Australians voted ‘yes’ to include Aboriginal people in the census, and allow the Commonwealth Government the ability to make laws for Aboriginal people, as opposed to state.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the famous ‘Mabo Decision’ – the historic legal case which abolished the notion of ‘terra nullius’, the idea that Australia belonged to no-one.

Marist Australian Football Club, who field teams in our ActewAGL Junior League and CareSuper Rising Stars, have worked with Canberra local and 2014 NAIDOC Indigenous Person of the Year, Dion Devow, to design their Guernsey that will be worn by all their players in all grades this weekend.

“This jumper was developed purposefully for the Football Club and as a proud Indigenous Australian, I have the deepest of thanks to MAFC for undertaking such a symbolic and meaningful gesture to not just indigenous people but to all Australians. Reconciliation is important and we all can play our role to achieve it.” Devow said

The club will also be holding a whole of club celebration on Friday 26th May to mark the beginning of the Round, and inform their players and parents of the important of this round. The ceremony will include a traditional dance by Torres Strait Islander dance group, The Beatty Clan Crew.

Marist President, Mark Henderson, said he was really proud of his Club for getting involved.

“We are a small representation of the broader ACT and AFL community. We wanted to make a big statement that Indigenous reconciliation is important and we want to let Indigenous Australians know we want to be part of the conversation.” Henderson said.

The Tuggeranong Hawks will also be wearing an Indigenous Guernsey in their First Grade match this weekend, designed by Hawks player Tom Hodge.

“Our guernsey design represents our meeting place, our home ground (Greenway) our totem (the hawk). On the back we can see two smaller meeting places that represent our senior teams (Seniors, reserves, rising stars and our women’s team) and our juniors (Hawks, Bulldogs, Lions, and Swans) and the pathways between them.” Hodge said.

Tuggeranong has had a strong history of Indigenous players at their club, with Ollie Kickett and Les Turner integral members of the club’s 1986 premiership side. Jay Kickett is also currently the senior games record holder as well as being a former senior captain, while Gerrit Wanganeen holds the club games record.

The Hawks will also be holding a ceremony before their First Grade game at Greenway Oval on Saturday, with a smoking ceremony and welcome to country at approx. 150pm.

We encourage everyone to get along the Tuggeranong First Grade match or any of the Marist games on the weekend to get behind them.

To view all our fixtures, visit http://aflcanberra.com.au/fixtures-results/