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Pyke, Fagan and players share passion and pride for Sir Doug Nicholls Round

Adelaide Crows players Cameron Ellis-Yolmen, Ben Davis, Wayne Milera, Tyson Stengle, Eddie Betts and Shane McAdam wearing the 2019 Indigenous Guernsey at Grange Beach. The Indigenous Guernsey celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their contributions to Australian Football.
Adelaide Crows players Cameron Ellis-Yolmen, Ben Davis, Wayne Milera, Tyson Stengle, Eddie Betts and Shane McAdam wearing the 2019 Indigenous Guernsey at Grange Beach. The Indigenous Guernsey celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their contributions to Australian Football.

Every year, the AFL community comes together to celebrate and commemorate the game’s Indigenous members.

Not just the players, but the coaches, the support staff, the fans - everyone who helps make our game great.

The Crows will take on West Coast at Adelaide Oval this Saturday and ahead of the game, key figures from the Adelaide Football Club wanted to share their sentiments.

First in line was Adelaide coach Don Pyke, who described Sir Doug Nicholls Round as “a vital part of the fixture”.

“It allows us to recognise the wonderful contribution Indigenous players have and continue to make to our great game,” Pyke said.

“I can still remember as a 10-year-old watching the sublime skills of Jim and Phil Krakouer at Claremont Oval.

“Later I had the privilege of playing with Derek Kickett, Chris Lewis and the Materas, and now there is the opportunity to coach Eddie Betts and our younger Indigenous players.”

Although it is great to celebrate and enjoy the “wizardry” of Indigenous players, Pyke said it was an opportunity to share an important message.

“While we all get to constantly marvel at the acts of wizardry of our Indigenous players, it is also a time to remind ourselves and all footy fans, and the broader community, to be strong in stamping out any form of racism,” he said.

“Our game has been enriched by the greatness of our Indigenous players and long may it continue.”

Pyke was not alone in his praise, here’s what a few other people from around the club had to say:

Richard Douglas:

“To me, Sir Doug Nicholls Round is a fantastic time for the greater football community to come together as one and further learn about the culture and traditions on our Indigenous people.

“It’s also a celebration of the past, present and future Indigenous stars of our game”

Andrew Fagan:

“To me, the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round is more impactful than any other week in sport in this country.

“In addition to celebrating the enormous contribution that Indigenous players have made to our Club, game and broader community, I appreciate the focus given to reflection and learning more about Indigenous culture.

“I love the guernseys, the story-telling, the game day atmosphere at Adelaide Oval and Eddie Betts delivering a goal of the year contender!

“It is a special week and I am proud how we embrace it as players, fans and as an overall Club. And I can’t wait for Saturday.”

Ben Davis:

“It’s a great round to be able to share our culture with non-Indigenous people and for people who may not necessarily be asking questions about our culture all the time, it gives them an opportunity to really dive into our lives and our upbringing, our culture and what makes us, us, as Indigenous people.

“I think a lot of the time through day to day life, you won’t get a non-Indigenous person asking too many questions about culture.

“I think having this round really emphasises the importance of culture to us Indigenous people and makes it easier for non-Indigenous people to ask questions they wouldn’t usually ask and learn things that they normally wouldn’t.

“Our culture isn’t something that is talked about in normal day to day life and it should be, because it is such an important aspect of our lives as Indigenous people and this round just gives the opportunity to learn.

“That’s why it means a lot to me and other Indigenous people.”

Brett Burton:

“One of the best parts of being involved in football is getting to work and socialise with people from a diverse range of upbringings and cultural backgrounds.

"Our great game has a way of unifying and bringing people together and that sense of togetherness goes up another level during Sir Doug Nicholls Round which for mine makes it the most special week on the AFL calendar.

"As a former player and now administrator, I think it is a great opportunity to learn more about Indigenous culture and participate in activities that support both our past and current Indigenous players, and also highlight the amazing contribution they have and continue to make to the sport.”