As Australia goes to the polls in the Voice referendum, the AFLW will be celebrating its indigenous rounds.
Held over two weekends, three teams are adopting traditional names and all 18 clubs and umpires will be wearing special jumpers.
Over 20 players across the competition identify as indigenous, including Geelong star midfielder Georgie Prespakis.
Melbourne will be identified as Narrm, Port Adelaide as Yartapuulti and Fremantle – who will be playing Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday – as Walyalup.
The Cats’ indigenous jumper has been designed by proud Awabakal woman Michelle Searle from Newcastle and represents in part the coming together under one sky, sharing and learning from each other.
This Saturday will also see Geelong’s Chantel Emonson play her 50th AFLW match, her 28th in the hoops, and Zali Friswell her 25th – all of which have been as a Cat.
The umpires’ uniform, which was also worn in the Doug Nichols Round of the AFL, has been designed by Noongar Wandandi Boodja man and current VFL umpire, Joshua James.
The design is called Moorditj Koondarm, meaning ‘strong dreams’ and showcases how strong, resilient and self-determined Aboriginal people are and the unity of people coming together.
Rounds 7 and 8 will also feature a special Sherrin football, created by proud Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri and Nurrunga woman Gabriel Stengle, which celebrates the journey of the AFLW in always moving forward, and with the Sherrin name replaced by the phrase ‘Tidna Parntu’ meaning ‘football’ or ‘Australian Rules Football’.
“As leaders in Australian sport, we are incredibly proud of the role [the] Indigenous Round plays in celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, umpires and officials,” AFLW Executive General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch said.
“This is more important than ever before, given the upcoming Referendum for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.”
With just a few days to go before the referendum, the the AFL Players’ Association has reaffirmed its support for a First Nations Voice to Parliament.