This one’s for Sir Doug – a true great
with Josh Kennedy IT was nice to finally rack up a strong win on the road, so that won’t be the focus of everyone in the footy world as we prepare for this week’s game against Gold Coast.
We understood that until we won a game against a quality team outside of Perth our travelling form – and everything associated with it – would be under the microscope.
But hopefully that is no longer the focus after an eight-point win over Port Adelaide.
It was a gritty performance from the boys and all the more meritorious because we did it without last year’s club champion Andrew Gaff for the last quarter and a half.
Gaffy was unfortunately knocked out in the middle of the third quarter and that probably de-stabilised us for a little while because Port got on a roll and kicked the last three goals of the quarter to make it a three-goal game at the last change.
We re-grouped at the break, got going again and it felt like we would win the game all the way through the last quarter even though Port kept coming hard at us.
While it was a good win, we know that to qualify for finals we need to keep winning, both at home and away, so we can’t afford to take our foot off the gas.
This week we play Gold Coast and while they have had a few big injuries this year, we know we will need our A game to win.
It’s an important round for us because we will recognise Sir Douglas Nicholls.
It was formerly Indigenous Round, but has been renamed to honour one of the great Aboriginal pioneers of the game.
Sir Doug Nicholls played at Fitzroy, after initially going to Carlton, but never played there because of a few issues at the club.
He then played in the local suburban competition with Northcote before eventually playing VFL with Fitzroy.
He was later Governor of South Australia and a pivotal figure in the quest for equal rights.
We will do our best to honour Sir Doug and our strong historical connection between the indigenous players who have represented our club, as well as fans who have been so supportive of our club for 30 years.
It means a lot to our current indigenous players and is one of the important days in the game. THE AFL round set down each year to recognise the contribution of indigenous players to Australian football has this year been changed to acknowledge one of its pioneers.
The Sir Doug Nicholls Round will be played across Australia this weekend and in Perth it will see West Coast host Gold Coast in honour of one of the game’s true greats.
Doug Nicholls may not be a household name in WA, but he is considered one of the most influential and respected figures in Australian history.
Born at Cummeragunga mission in NSW on December 9, 1906, he ventured to Melbourne in 1927 with the dream of playing senior football. He arrived at the Carlton Football Club, but had trouble being accepted because of his race and joined the Northcote Football Club in a local competition.
He soon established himself as a star player, and as the only Aboriginal playing senior football in the state he was Northcote’s number one drawcard. He possessed outstanding speed, having also competed in professional sprint races, and was lauded as one of the game’s outstanding wingmen.
He played in the club’s first premiership in 1929 before the lure of League football could no longer be resisted.
Northcote had withstood the advances of Carlton and Collingwood, but following the 1931 season, he transferred to Fitzroy. In five seasons he played 54 games, finishing third in the club’s best and fairest count in 1934 and representing Victoria in 1935.
With failing eyesight, Nicholls left Fitzroy and returned to Northcote in 1938, before retiring in 1939.
In 1939 he became a pastor. He was also a respected crusader for Aboriginal rights and in 1957 he was awarded an MBE, the same year he was appointed a field officer for the Aborigine Advancement League.
He would go on to become the first Aborigine to be knighted in 1972 and in 1976 accepted the position as Governor of South Australia.
West Coast Eagles players will wear the same yellow Indigenous Round guernsey that was worn last year, with the team’s indigenous players leading their side on to the ground.
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Sir Douglas Nicholls.