The long-standing connection between Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander communities and Australian Football has been strengthened, with the 2021 Dreamtime in Perth match to be broadcast in traditional Yolngu Matha language for the first time.
The history-making broadcast will be conducted by Yolngu Radio, which is one of the key community media sources for Yolngu People in North-East Arnhem Land.
Yolngu Radio broadcasts into the six major communities and 15 homelands throughout the North-East Arnhem Land region and across Darwin and Palmerston.
The broadcast will be called remotely at Yolngu Radio studio in Nhulunbuy by North-East Arnhem Land trio Daonga Maymuru, William Gumbula and 18-year-old Wanharrawurr Mununggurr (also known as BJ).
“We’re really excited to commentate the Dreamtime match in our first language so all our family and friends can enjoy listening to Richmond and Essendon,” BJ said.
“Yolngu people love their footy, so for the community to be able to hear their favourite sport broadcast in Yolngu Matha for the first time will be something special.”
Yolngu Radio manager Nicholas O’Riley said, “Football is a huge part of the communities in North-East Arnhem Land. Yolngu Radio prides itself on celebrating Yolngu language and culture and with the help of Telstra and Triple M, we can now bring AFL in Yolngu Matha to people’s homes throughout North-East Arnhem Land, Darwin and Palmerston. We look forward to continuing to work with the AFL to broadcast more games in the future.”
In addition, the AFL’s longstanding partner, National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS), will celebrate its 25th year covering AFL matches, when it broadcasts the Friday night blockbuster between Melbourne and Brisbane Lions and the Dreamtime in Perth match on Saturday.
First broadcasting in 1997, NIRS has been a key driver in providing a platform for former AFL Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander players to enter the media industry and provide an opportunity for people to listen to First Nations programming.
AFL Executive General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy, Tanya Hosch said it was an honour for the game to be invited into these remote communities and that partnering with radio stations that connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was another step forward for Australian Football.
“Sir Doug Nicholls Round provides a wonderful opportunity for everyone to celebrate and recognise the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, so I’m thrilled the AFL is working with Yolngu Radio to extend the excitement of this dedicated round to remote communities in the Northern Territory.
“A number of traditional Aboriginal dialects have unfortunately been lost throughout generations, so to have AFL matches broadcast in traditional Yolngu Matha language is a special occasion for Yolngu communities.
“The National Indigenous Radio Service has been vital in representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in our game for the last 25 years, so I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in reaching this milestone and thank them for their continued support.”
Fans can find their local frequency via the NIRS website (nirs.org.au) and tune into the broadcast from 7PM (EST) on Friday and Saturday night, while Yolngu Radio will be available on 88.9FM throughout East Arnhem Land, Darwin and Palmerston and both are available via the Official AFL App, thanks to Telstra.
About Yolngu Radio commentators:
Wanharrawurr Mununggurr (better known as BJ)
Eighteen-year-old BJ was born and raised in the North-East Arnhem Indigenous community of Yirrkala. BJ is a passionate Hawthorn fan and plays local football for Djarrak (Hawks), and travels to Darwin to play with the Darwin Buffaloes in the wet season. When he isn’t calling games, BJ works as a Health Promoter at a local Aboriginal health organisation (Miwatj Health) and is said to have the best moustache of any 18-year-old in the Top End.
Daonga Maymuru (pronounced Doonga)
Daonga was born and raised in the North-East Arnhem Indigenous community of Yirrkala. The 27-year-old is known for his quick wit on the airwaves and played local football for the Darwin Buffaloes before a serious knee injury saw him retire early. Away from football, Daonga works at the famous Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre (Yirrkala Arts Centre).
Originally from Elcho Island in North-East Arnhem Land, 29-year-old William now resides at Ski Beach- a community located just outside of Nhulunbuy. Will’s knows football inside out and his love of the game saw him originally start work for AFL as a trainee in 2013 on Elcho Island. Will is a mad Brisbane Lions fan and has been known to put strapping tape under his knee like his hero Jonathan Brown, despite him never having knee issues.
About Yolngu Radio:
Yolŋgu Radio 88.9FM is one of the key community media sources for Aboriginal people in Arnhem Land. Yolngu Radio broadcasts into the six major communities and 15 homelands throughout the North-East Arnhem Land region and across Darwin and Palmerston. Programming includes traditional stories, education programs, football, music, health and wellbeing and news bulletins.
The National Indigenous Radio Service provides hourly news bulletins Mondays to Fridays to First Nations community radio stations across the country. It is also a content sharing platform of First Nations programming including current affairs and specialist shows focused on sports, youth, arts, culture, law/lore, language and the arts.