The AFL has launched the 2019 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round today at Sir Pastor Doug Nicholls Oval in Melbourne.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and AFL General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch were joined by 2019 Sir Doug Nicholls Round Ambassador Michael Long and Sir Doug Nicholls’ daughter Aunty Pam Pederson OAM to welcome back the dedicated round.
The 2019 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round will be celebrated across Rounds 10 and 11 of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season, including the blockbuster Round 11 match between Melbourne and Adelaide scheduled in Darwin on Saturday 1 June.
Each match during the Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round will have the Aboriginal flag painted in the centre circle and the Torres Strait Island flag painted on the 50-metre markings on each half of the field.
In addition, the game in Darwin will have extra activities to highlight ‘Longy’, one of the NT’s favourite sons:
- A Welcome to Country by Larrakia elder Jeanneen McLennan, and didgeridoo performance by Les Huddleston
- A tribute to The Long Walk at half time of the game involving children from Gapuwiyak and Kalkarindji who will be in Darwin for the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre program run by AFLNT
- Face painters for children and adults alike who want a unique Indigenous or Michael Long themed design
- Special edition Michael Long masks for the crowd to wear
Tickets for the game are selling well, and fans wishing to attend are encouraged to buy them online at NTix to avoid potential disappointment on game night. Only a few corporate tickets remain, please contact AFLNTEvents@afl.com.au .
Season 2019 marks the thirteenth year the AFL has celebrated the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their contribution to Australian Football and is the fourth year the dedicated round has been named in honour of Sir Doug Nicholls.
Sir Doug Nicholls was born on Cummeragunja mission in New South Wales in 1906, he played football for Fitzroy before becoming a Pastor and pioneer for reconciliation in Australia. He then went on to become the first Indigenous person to be Knighted and hold the position of Governor of South Australia.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan outlined the significance of the 2019 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
"This week we recognise Sir Doug Nicholls for his impact on the AFL and more importantly in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country,” Mr McLachlan said.
“I am proud of how we collectively, as an industry have embraced the celebration of this round in Sir Doug Nicholls’ name.
“Sir Doug Nicholls was not only a pioneer on the football field, but an advocate for change off the field.”
AFL General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch said this year’s round, while continuing to celebrate the contribution of Sir Doug Nicholls, will highlight Australian Football Legend Michael Long’s contribution to the game and the community.
“Michael’s contribution to the game both on and off the field has been one that has enriched our sport,” Ms Hosch said.
“Leaders such as Michael and the influence of his tireless work around the country has helped pave the way for the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players to maximise their time in the game and reach their full potential.”
Mr Long becomes the second individual to be honoured during the Sir Doug Nicholls Round, following Geelong champion Graham Polly Farmer who was acknowledged for his significant contribution to both football and the community during the dedicated round in 2018.
Playing 190 AFL games between 1989 and 2001, Mr 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.
Off the field, Mr Long is an advocate for reconciliation and continues to make a stand against racism and close the gap between young Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Celebrating the fifteenth-year anniversary of The Long Walk, Mr Long said he was honoured to be recognised in the AFL’s dedicated Round.
“It’s a huge honour to be recognised in the 2019 Sir Doug Nicholls Round and acknowledged for my contribution to the game,” he said.
“I’m extremely proud of my achievements both on and off the field and look forward to being part of Sir Doug Nicholls Round which has become a significant event on the AFL calendar.”
- Dual AFL Essendon premiership player (1993, 2000)
- 1993 Norm Smith Medallist
- 190 AFL game player (1989- 2001)
- First Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander player to captain an AFL team.
- Essendon Team of the Century inductee
- AFL Indigenous Team of the Century inductee
- AFL and AFLNT Hall of Fame player
- AFLNT Team of the Century inductee
- 2019 Northern Territory Australian of the Year
- Founder of The Long Walk, The Michael Long Foundation and The Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre based in the Northern Territory
Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls
- Born December 9, 1906 in Cummeragunja NSW
- Died June 4, 1988 in Mooroopna, Victoria
- VFL/AFL: 54 games for Fitzroy Football Club 1932-1937. Victorian representative player for two games.
- Was third in Fitzroy's best and fairest count in 1934
- VFA (now VFL): Northcote Football Club 1927-1931 and 1938-1939. VFA representative player for two games.
- Northcote Football Club's best and fairest player in 1929 and 1930.
- Played in Northcote Football Club's premiership side in 1929.
- Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order 1977
- Knight Bachelor 1972
- Governor of South Australia 1976-1977
- OBE 1968
- MBE 1957
For information on the 2019 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round, visit www.afl.com.au/indigenousround