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5 Fascinating But Little-Known Facts About Dreamtime At The G

5 Fascinating But Little-Known Facts About Dreamtime At The G
6 months ago 508 Views

Indigenous players have been interwoven in the Australian football narrative since the earliest days of the game. They’ve added to the excitement of the game with their flashy skills and hunger to be the best. All that is put on display each year during the AFL’s indigenous round with the annual ‘Dreamtime At The G’ match.

Get ready for the big day with 5 fascinating but little-known facts about game’s history...

Joe Johnson

It was in 1904 that the first Indigenous player made his indelible mark on the game. Joseph “Joe” Johnson played 55 games for Fitzroy, including back-to-back premierships in 1904 and 1905, paving the way for the incredible contribution indigenous players would make to Australia’s game. Today, Aboriginal players comprise 10 percent of the AFL competition, despite making up just 2.5 percent of the Australian population.

Dreamtime

Established in 2005, Dreamtime at the ‘G is an annual match contested by Richmond and Essendon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The game attracts among the highest crowds of the season. Conceived as a ‘thank you’ for the contribution of Indigenous players to football, the match was originally held in NAIDOC Week (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee). However due to its significant growth, in 2007 the match moved to a newly designated Indigenous Round, which celebrates Indigenous talent both on and off the field.

The Long walk

The Dreamtime match incorporates the pre-game ritual “The Long Walk”, inspired by AFL and Essendon legend Michael Long, who walked from Melbourne to Canberra in 2004 to meet with then Prime Minister John Howard to raise Indigenous issues. Now a charity established by Long, The Long Walk hold communal celebrations, entertainment, activities and speeches at Federation Square before Michael Long leads a walk to the MCG to promote reconciliation. The walk has grown over the years, most recently attended by 15,000 people including then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Pre-game

An elaborate pre-game show is held each year with Indigenous-based musical performances and dancing. The lights in the MCG are dimmed for the show and the rival clubs also take part in a War Cry, where the players stand facing each other and Indigenous dancers perform a Dreamtime dance, choreographed with special significance to each club.

Names to watch

The stage is set by the time of the first bounce just before 7:30pm, the players are certainly feeling the significance of the match. This is especially true for Indigenous Richmond gun Sydney Stack who, in his debut season, will take to the Dreamtime Stage for his first time. The 18-year-old West Australian utility has played outstanding football since debuting for the Tigers in round three. He relocated to Melbourne from Western Australia in December, moving in with coach Damien Hardwick and his family.

Now in his fourth season, Essendon speedster Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti loves stepping up on the big stage. Born in the Tiwi Islands, off the coast of Darwin, the Bomber forward played junior footy for the Tiwi Bombers in the Northern Territory Football League before relocating to Victoria at just 17 to further his AFL dream. Adopted by Jane McDonald in Gippsland, McDonald-Tipungwuti took on the family’s name in recognition for their contribution to his journey.

Don't miss out, buy your 2019 Dreamtime At The G tickets here.