Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round 2018

Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round is a much anticipated fixture on Hawthorn Football Club’s annual calendar. It provides the opportunity for Hawthorn players, coaches, administrators, members, fans and wider stakeholders to celebrate and acknowledge the significant impact Indigenous Australians have had on the great game of Australian football. It also provides meaningful opportunities for the entire football community to further develop their understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture.

Hawthorn hosted Port Adelaide in Launceston during this year’s Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round, with the game acting as a wonderful finale to a week-long celebration of Indigenous culture.

The week commenced with the launch of the club’s new look Indigenous guernsey, a fitting tribute to Hawks’ champion and favourite son, Cyril Rioli. The guernsey was designed by Jennifer “Lulu” Combes, the cousin of Cyril Rioli Snr, and displays significant aspects of life on the Tiwi Islands, the Rioli’s home. These prominent aspects of Tiwi culture on display are the Pukumani Poles and the Kulama Yam ceremony. The final touch to the guernsey is the inscription of “Ngawa Puranji Yiloga” on the inside collar, translating to “We Love Our Footy.”

Leading into match day Hawthorn Football Club staff, coaches and players were visited by Zibeon Fielding, a young Indigenous man who runs marathons and ultra-marathons as a member of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation. Fielding, an inspirational man raising awareness for the health issues facing remote communities. Zibeon works in a medical clinic in the remote community of Mimili and has been raising money for a dialysis machine to assist patients in need who normally have no access to the care they require in their community. Through running, Fielding hopes to inspire others to make positive life choices and live healthier lives.

Having departed Melbourne for Launceston, the Hawks were able to deliver further Indigenous cultural activations for our members and fans in Tasmania. The open training session on the eve of the game commenced with a Welcome to Country delivered by the Rocherlea Aboriginal Youth Group.

On match day local elder Graeme Gardner conducted a Welcome to Country on the ground before the match which was followed by a cultural performance of traditional dance and a musical set from Dewayne Everettsmith and Sheldon Thomas using traditional river stones and river sticks.

Past premiership player Chance Bateman took part in a ball exchange before Zibeon Fielding re-joined the Hawks to toss the coin. Hawthorn’s Indigenous players Shaun Burgoyne and Jarman Impey took centre stage for the coin toss and offered a cultural gift exchange with Port Adelaide’s Indigenous players.

In what has become an annual event, Hawthorn once again held an online auction in an effort to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. The match worn guernseys from Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round raised in excess of $3,000 to help support literacy initiatives in Australia’s remote Indigenous communities.

All of the activities conducted by the club during Sir Doug Nicholls round would not be possible without the epic support of our Indigenous partner, the Epic Good Foundation.

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