The AFL advises the 2021 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round will occur over Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

An integral part of the AFL calendar, the 2021 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round theme is 'Our Legacy – This is Us'.

Legacy highlights contributions from First Nations Elders of the game such as Sir Doug Nicholls himself, and 2021 Sir Doug Nicholls Round honouree and Indigenous team of the Century member, Syd Jackson. Legacy also celebrates the achievements of current players such as Eddie Betts, who this week equals Andrew McLeod in third spot for most games played by an Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander person.

Season 2021 marks the fifteenth year the AFL has celebrated the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their contribution to Australian Football and is the fourth year the dedicated round has been named in honour of Sir Doug Nicholls.

Sir Doug Nicholls was born on Cummeragunja mission in New South Wales in 1906. 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.

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AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan outlined the significance of the 2021 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

"Over the next two Rounds, we recognise Sir Doug Nicholls for the impact he had on our great game, and we celebrate the contribution of all Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander players past and present," Mr McLachlan said.

"Sir Doug Nicholls Round is a highlight of every season and it is more than just a celebration of the brilliant skills on the field.

"The Round is an opportunity to continue to listen and learn from First Nations players and staff at all levels of the game.

Mr McLachlan added that he sympathised with football fans in the Top End following the relocation of the Darwin match to Sydney.

"We know how much footy means to people in the Top End and we are disappointed that we cannot see the Gold Coast SUNS host Hawthorn at TIO Stadium in Darwin this weekend – we hope to be able to return to Darwin at some stage this season."

Players pose for a photograph during the 2021 Sir Doug Nicholls Round media opportunity. Picture: AFL Photos

AFL Executive General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch said:

"Sir Doug Nicholls Round allows the code to celebrate the impact of Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islanders and to continue the conversation about the game’s history and the way forward.

"Australian Football is loved and enjoyed by many people and we must never underestimate the impact football has on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country.

"We know the platform of sport has the power to set the agenda – it can be an incredible force for good in our society and for our nation."

Ms Hosch said this year’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round will highlight Australian Football Legend Syd Jackson’s contribution to the game and the community.

"Syd Jackson’s contribution to the game both on and off the field has been one that has truly enriched our sport," Ms Hosch said.

"Syd’s on-field accolades – including two premierships with Carlton in 1970 and 1972 – matched with his off-field impact strongly indicates his life-long commitment to create opportunities for First Nations peoples, makes us proud to honour his contribution.

"As a code, we will continue to recognise those who have changed the game’s history. Those who faced racism and discrimination through their journey in life and football."

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Syd Jackson becomes the third individual to be honoured during the Sir Doug Nicholls Round, following Essendon champion and Australian Football Hall of Fame member Michael Long, and Legend and Geelong champion Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer.

Syd Jackson’s on-field accolades include two premierships with Carlton in 1970 and 1972, having played 136 games for the Carlton Football Club from 1969 – 1976. Jackson was known his for dynamic playing style on the field and played 104 games for East Perth before coming to Victoria, and a further 13 games for Glenelg in his final season of senior football in 1977.

Jackson is a member of the East Perth team of the century, won the East Perth Best and Fairest medal in 1966, was named in the Indigenous Team of the century, and is a member of the WA Hall of Fame. He grew up at Roelands Mission near Bunbury, Western Australia, and won two medals in the South West League before joining East Perth in the WAFL.

Off the field, Jackson 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.

After being named as the 2020 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round honouree, Syd Jackson said he was grateful to be honoured for a second year, after being unable to attend key Sir Doug Nicholls Round matches during the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

"It is an honour to be recognised as the 2021 Sir Doug Nicholls Round honouree and to be acknowledged for my contribution to the game both during my football career, and now," Mr Jackson said.

"Sir Doug Nicholls Round has become a significant event on the AFL calendar, and I look forward to recognising and celebrating the contribution of many Indigenous Australians to our great game."

To celebrate Sir Doug Nicholls Round, all 18 Clubs will wear their own Sir Doug Nicholls Round Guernsey in Round 11 and/or Round 12 of the 2021 Toyota Premiership Season. To see this year’s Guernsey designs, visit

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

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

For information on the 2021 Toyota AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round, visit