THE second local Indigenous Round will be held this weekend with two matches across the Gippsland and Alberton Leagues. Following the great success of the recent clash between Kilcunda-Bass and Korumburra-Bena, Inverloch-Kongwak and Phillip Island will wear specially designed jumpers at Inverloch on Saturday, before Wonthaggi and Leongatha don Aboriginal art-inspired jumpers on Sunday at Wonthaggi. Netball sides on both days will wear bibs with the same designs and local primary school students have made all of the designs. Before both senior matches, a smoking, dance and welcome to country ceremony will be held, led by members of the Boonwurrung people. On Sunday, ‘The Long Walk’ will be held before the pre-match ceremonies and will depart from the Ramahyuck building at 70 Watt St, Wonthaggi. The walk is inspired by former Essendon indigenous footballer Michael Long, who walked from Melbourne to Parliament House in Canberra in 2004 to meet with Prime Minister John Howard to discuss his concerns about the plight of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Everyone is welcome to join The Long Walk and all walkers will be given free entry to the match.
Local indigenous boys Byron Dryden and Andrew Murray will play for Wonthaggi Power and Aaron Edwards will play for Phillip Island. The trio are looking forward to the matches and the chance to represent their culture.
“I am proud of my culture and I am happy to be representing my club in the Indigenous Round,” Andrew Murray said.
“I have been involved in the Rio Tinto Under 23 National competition, where I travelled to Perth for a week-long footy camp.
“The second camp was in Melbourne and we played in the curtain raiser for the Dream Time match in 2014.
“I loved performing the war cry on the MCG.”
Dryden was also part of the Rio Tinto competition and said he is looking forward to this Sunday’s match.
“[It’s about] getting around my brothers, showing everyone what we are about and that our culture is a strong one and how much we love it,” he said.
Edwards was a member of Phillip Island’s senior premiership side last year and has played for the Indigenous team, Laguntas FC for three years. He said the indigenous round was a good opportunity to showcase the talent and represent the Indigenous community. Indigenous Round organiser John Murray said the response to the local indigenous rounds has been phenomenal. “It’s been really well received and supported, the guys are looking forward to the games,” he said.
“We’ve had 20-28 kids turning up regularly for the dance practices, so their skill level has developed, they’re making a connection and getting together to become a group.”
“It’s been incredible the support; the schools have really been behind it was well.”