THE 2020 Dreamtime match will be played in Darwin late next month.

The AFL on Friday announced the annual Essendon/Richmond game would headline Sir Doug Nicholls Round, round 13, with a showcase evening fixture kicking off from 7.10pm ACST (7.40pm AEST) on Saturday, August 22 at TIO Stadium.

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Other matches of round 13 are expected to be announced next week, with two games to be played in Darwin in that period, the other one being a Gold Coast home game.

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AFL social policy and inclusion manager Tanya Hosch said "Dreamtime in Darwin" would be a "special moment" and a "true celebration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their contribution to Australian Football, and how players past and present have inspired generations of Australians".


"Sir Doug Nicholls Round creates a platform to profile players who have changed the game’s history and faced racism and discrimination to fight for equality and recognition, such as Syd Jackson has," Hosch said.

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"2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Discrimination and Racial and Religious Vilification Act which was introduced in 1995.

"This act clearly signalled that racial and religious vilification would no longer be tolerated in Australian Football. We continue to prioritise an inclusive environment for all people within the industry and focus on identifying strategies targeted at the prevention of vilification before it occurs.

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"Through the hard work and dedication of our playing group, past and present, community leaders and industry leaders, we’re able to collectively work towards a future with no racism in our game." 

This is the fifth season that a round of the AFL season has officially been dedicated to Sir Nicholls and in 2020, ex-Carlton great Syd Jackson will also be honoured for his immense contribution to football and the community.

The Sir Doug Nicholls Round will be celebrated across two rounds of the 2020 season.

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AFL general manager broadcasting Travis Auld said it was exciting to be taking a Dreamtime match to Darwin.

"This is the fifth year the dedicated round has been named in honour of Sir Doug Nicholls ... and as part of this round we're really excited about the opportunity to play both the Dreamtime game and the first ever Gold Coast home game in Darwin.

 "I'd also like to thank the Northern Territory Government and the Seven Network for their support in allowing us to bring the Dreamtime Game to Darwin."

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2020 Toyota Sir Doug Nicholls Round

2020 is the fourteenth year the AFL has celebrated the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their contribution to Australian Football.

Born on the Cummeragunja mission in New South Wales in 1906, Sir Nicholls played for Fitzroy before becoming a Pastor and pioneer for reconciliation in Australia. He then went on to become the first Indigenous person to be Knighted and hold the position of Governor of South Australia.

Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls:

  • Born December 9, 1906 in Cummeragunja NSW
  • Died June 4, 1988 in Mooroopna, Victoria
  • VFL/AFL: 54 games for Fitzroy Football Club 1932-1937. Victorian representative player for two games.
  • Was third in Fitzroy's best and fairest count in 1934
  • VFA (now VFL): Northcote Football Club 1927-1931 and 1938-1939. VFA representative player for two games.
  • Northcote Football Club's best and fairest player in 1929 and 1930.
  • Played in Northcote Football Club's premiership side in 1929.
  • Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order 1977
  • Knight Bachelor 1972
  • Governor of South Australia 1976-1977
  • OBE 1968
  • MBE 1957

Syd Jackson:

Playing 136 games for the Carlton Football Club from 1969 - 1976, the dual-premiership player has worked tirelessly to create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including supporting the Blues Foundation with the Syd Jackson Program named in his honour. The program seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander diverse communities.

  • 104 games East Perth 1963-67, 78 goals
  • 136 games Carlton 1969-76, 165 goals
  • 13 games Glenelg 1977, 21 goals
  • One game WA, one goal
  • Premierships 1970, 1972
  • Best and Fairest 1966
  • Indigenous Team of the Century
  • East Perth Team of the Century