This evening the AFL announced that the 2019 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round will pay tribute to one of the Territory's favourite sons, Michael Long.
Long is the Patron in Chief of the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre and an inductee in the AFLNT Team of the Century and AFLNT Hall of Fame. He is also an Essendon champion and Australian Football Hall of Fame member.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announced the news at the 2019 Toyota AFL Season Launch at Melbourne Town Hall on Thursday night.
Long becomes the second individual to be honoured during the Sir Doug Nicholls Round, following Australian Football Legend and Geelong champion Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer who was acknowledged for his significant contribution to both football and the community during the dedicated round in 2018.
Long’s elite playing history and accolades are well documented; a dual AFL premiership player with Essendon, the 1993 Norm Smith Medallist and the first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander player to captain an AFL team.
Playing 190 AFL games between 1989 and 2001, Long is a member of the Essendon Team of the Century, an AFL Indigenous Team of the Century inductee, AFLNT Hall of Fame player and an AFLNT Team of the Century inductee.
Off the field, Long is an advocate for reconciliation and the power of education and continues to make a stand against racism and close the gap between young Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Recently named as the 2019 Northern Territory Australian of the Year, Long continues his good work through the Michael Long Foundation, and by supporting the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre based in the Northern Territory and The Long Walk.
AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham said the NT community would rejoice in having an extra special reason to celebrate Sir Doug Nicholls Round when Melbourne host the Adelaide Crows in Darwin.
"Here in the NT, we are very proud of Longy and everything he achieved as a player and continues to work for in the community. He is very deserving of this honour and will keep inspiring us to do our best and to use football as a way to drive positive social change, especially in the remote space.
"The Round 11 Melbourne versus Adelaide Crows clash at TIO Stadium on Saturday 1 June already promises to be a big one but this recognition turns it up a notch, and we're going to make sure it's a celebration that's fitting of the great man but also an occasion fans will remember," Totham said.
Season 2019 marks the thirteenth year the AFL has celebrated the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and their contribution to Australian Football and is the fourth year the dedicated round has been named in honour of Sir Doug Nicholls.
Born on Cummeragunja mission in New South Wales in 1906, Sir Doug Nicholls played football for Fitzroy before becoming a Pastor and pioneer for reconciliation in Australia. He went on to become the first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to be knighted and hold the position of Governor of South Australia.
The 2019 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round will be celebrated across Rounds 10 and 11 of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season beginning with the Marngrook match between Sydney and Collingwood at the SCG, followed by the annual Dreamtime at the ‘G match between Essendon and Richmond on Saturday night.