Sir Doug Nicholls Round

Sir Doug Nicholls Round (SDNR) will once again celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and contributions to Australian football, with this year’s celebration occurring in Round 10 (16 – 19 May) and Round 11 (23 – 26 May). It will be the 18th year the AFL has had a dedicated Indigenous Round and the 9th year it’s been known as Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls was a Yorta Yorta man born on Cummeragunja mission in New South Wales in 1906. Sir Doug Nicholls played football for Fitzroy before becoming a Pastor and pioneer for reconciliation in Australia. He went on to become the first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to be knighted and hold the position of Governor of SA.


Dreamtime at the 'G

Dreamtime at the 'G is a significant annual fixture in the AFL, celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander cultures and their profound contribution to Australian football.

Introduced in 2005, this game sees Essendon and Richmond go head-to-head at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Beyond the thrilling competition on the field, the event honours the rich heritage, stories, and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through pre-game ceremonies and activities, fostering unity and a deeper appreciation of Indigenous heritage in sport.

The origins of the Dreamtime game are deeply rooted in recognising and celebrating the profound impact Indigenous players have had on the AFL. The game was inspired by Essendon's former player and coach, Kevin Sheedy, who envisioned the match as a platform to honour the contributions of Indigenous athletes to the league. The name "Dreamtime" refers to the Aboriginal understanding of the world's creation, known as "The Dreaming," which is a critical element of Aboriginal spirituality, culture, and lore.


Pre-match Ceremony

The pre-match ceremony at the MCG for Dreamtime at the 'G is a stirring tribute to Indigenous cultures, setting the tone for the evening. A Welcome to Country, war cries delivered by both competing teams, light shows and musical performances are often enjoyed during the ceremony. 

Team Guernseys

Since 2014, all AFL clubs have worn specially designed guernseys during Sir Doug Nicholls Round. Each year, clubs design their own unique guernsey, often working with Indigenous artists & designers, with significant stories behind each design. 

Check out 2024's team guernseys here.  

Yiooken Award

The best on ground player during the Dreamtime match between Richmond & Essendon is awarded the Yiooken Award. The inaugural Yiooken Award was presented in 2006. Details on past winners can be found here