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Opinion

The TIO Stadium 'Dreamtime' fixture should be permanent

Dreamtime at the G should no longer be held at the G. (Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Roar Rookie
24th August, 2020
25

I’d like to use this platform as a springboard to communicate an idea observed following the recent dreamtime fixture that saw Darwin host Richmond and Essendon at TIO Stadium.

The annual Sir Doug Nicholls round is an initiative aimed to celebrate and recognise the Indigenous community by promoting the belief of fairness and respect.

These values were abided by last night and it seemed fitting for it to be held at a venue in the heart of their land.

The picturesque Northern Territory landscape provided a backdrop to an enthralling battle between two Melbourne-based clubs, the glimpses of brilliance on display were magnified by the passionate fans.

What the crowd lacked in numbers they made up in volume.

It makes no sense to be scheduled at the MCG, a ground that is located thousands of kilometres away from their backyard. In terms of growing the game’s diverse outlook, this is the obvious next step the AFL needs to take.

By doing so, they can highlight the importance of embracing the Indigenous population.

Despite the attendance barrier limiting viewing compared to that of other venues, TIO stadium offers young Indigenous kids the opportunity to see their heroes first-hand. It is an opportunity not as accessible if it were to be played elsewhere.

The outcome rests solely with the AFL board to make this decision become reality and help shape the game by taking an inclusive stance on matters surrounding cultural significance.

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It is hoped that in the not so distant future, Indigenous Australians will be gifted with the opportunity to attend a communal match designated towards raising cultural awareness on an annual basis at TIO Stadium.

Honouring the Indigenous community on a large scale will help to create a greater intercultural understanding by targeting the uneducated minority and changing behaviours/attitudes that will enable the cultivation of mutual respect.

This as a result will help to bridge the gap between society’s lack of recognition for Indigenous communities.

Additionally, the rescheduling of the fixture will help to alleviate the discriminatory actions constantly burdening the stars of our game by educating society on the impact of racism.

It’s no hiding away from the fact that this issue needs to be addressed and in the words of Eddie Betts: “celebrate what we do, but remember to celebrate who we are.”

What once was a temporary space of shared interests can become a permanent symbolic site of mutual respect that embodies Australia’s way of life.

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