The AFL has today announced the 2020 Toyota Sir Doug Nicholls Round will take place in Round 13 of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season, featuring the first-ever 'Dreamtime in Darwin' game, between Essendon and Richmond on Saturday 22 August at TIO Stadium in Darwin.

The 'Dreamtime in Darwin' match is a rare opportunity to take one of the most meaningful matches on the AFL calendar to the Northern Territory community.

The 2020 Toyota Sir Doug Nicholls Round will be 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.

AFL General Manager of Social Policy and Inclusion, Tanya Hosch, said this year's Dreamtime game will be a special moment for the communities across the Top End to come together and celebrate their love for football, while also recognising the immense journey the AFL has undertaken since the introduction of the Discrimination and Racial and Religious Vilification Act in 1995.

"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 Carlton Champion and Wongatha man, Syd Jackson, our 2020 Sir Doug Nicholls Round honouree.

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

"This act 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.

"Unfortunately racism has not been eradicated across the country, but with the leadership 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," said Hosch.

AFL General Manager of Broadcasting and Clubs, Travis Auld, has outlined the significance of the 2020 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round to the AFL.

"This is the fifth year the dedicated round has been named in honour of Sir Doug Nicholls, an icon of Australian football and someone who represents the exceptional values of the game.

"The Sir Doug Nicholls Round is a hugely significant round in the season, 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," said Auld.

AFL is partnering with the Northern Territory Government through Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) to bring the Dreamtime game to Darwin. NTMEC CEO Tim Watsford said the game was a natural fit for the Territory.

"The Territory has produced many of the game's greatest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, including family dynasties that have seen grandfather, father, and even son playing in the AFL. The game is a way of life up here. Everywhere, from the Top End to the Red Centre, and out to our most remote communities, you will see kids kicking a footy around.

"We couldn't be prouder to partner with AFL to bring one of the most meaningful and memorable fixtures of the season to Darwin," said Watsford.

 This year's round, while continuing to celebrate Sir Doug Nicholls, will also recognise Australian Football Legend Syd Jackson's contribution to the game and the community.

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.

The 2020 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round will be celebrated in Round 13 the Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Dreamtime in Darwin will be one of two matches at TIO Stadium on that weekend, with a Gold Coast home game to be announced with the remainder of the fixture for Round 13 next week.

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 he played football 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:

  • 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