SIR DOUG Nicholls Round will take on extra significance for Jeremy Finlayson this year, as the Greater Western Sydney forward recently learned he is related to the man who epitomises the spirit of reconciliation.
Finlayson is originally from Culcairn in Southern NSW and of Yorta Yorta descent, but is still learning more about his ancestry as members of his family that were part of the Stolen Generation reconnect.
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The 25-year-old’s father finally met one of his cousins for the first time last year, who Finlayson now also speaks to regularly to learn more about his family’s heritage and history.
It was this newfound relative who revealed to Finlayson and his family that they are related to Sir Doug Nicholls.
"I found out a few months ago that I'm actually related to Sir Doug Nicholls, so it holds a special place in my heart right now. I'm super proud to be related to Sir Doug Nicholls,” Finlayson told AFL.com.au.
“I ring dad’s cousin once a week, two times a week and get information off him, but for him to tell me that I'm related to Sir Doug Nicholls, I still can't get over it. But there is so much more information.”
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The Giants will wear an Indigenous jumper designed by young forward and Whadjuk-Ballardong Noongar man Bobby Hill, that includes the totems of Hill, Finlayson and former teammate Zac Williams.
The team was based in Perth when they first wore the jumper in Sir Doug Nicholls Round last year, and Finlayson and Hill look forward to taking it on the road again when they play Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night.
"When I was asked to design the jersey I said 'yes' straight away and asked my family back home in WA what the meaning should be around it,” Hill said after a special Indigenous ceremony at the Giants’ training ground.
“They had a big think about it and said ‘make it about family’, because the Giants are like a family, we're just a big brotherhood.
“Everyone here at the Giants is one big family, just like mine back home in WA, we're very close.”
Hill kicked the final two, match-sealing goals in the Giants’ 16-point win over West Coast in round 10 and is now looking to add more goals to his game as he feels more secure and settled in the team.
The 21-year-old has kicked 18 goals in 23 career games, and 7.11 this season.
"I got a bit lucky in the end, thanks to [Jacob] Hopper for kicking me that second last one. The last one was a bit cheeky, but it was good to get the last two goals in the game, I was happy with that,” Hill said.
"The last one I was a bit sore getting up, but other than that I was happy. If I can kick straight it'll be a bit better.”
Hill has been entertaining his teammates with his two-cheek goal celebrations with Tom Green this season, but has something else in mind if he kicks a major in Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
"Yeah, I've got one in my head. Fingers crossed one of the boys will help me out, or it comes across and I kick a goal,” he said.