The AFL’S Sir Doug Nichols Round has become and should always be a significant part of our football landscape. The flow-on importance and what it means to our NEAFL playing group at NT Thunder has been an eye-opener for me this week.
At our main training session on Wednesday, two of our senior players, Shannon Rioli and Phillip Wills presented to our playing and coaching group the history of the magnificent guernsey we will wear this weekend which was designed by former player Nathan Djerrkura.
As a new coach in this program, it most definitely had my heart racing and the hairs on the back of my neck standing tall from the passion and pride that they spoke with about what it represents and means. As a collective group, we cannot wait to take the field at 3.30pm this afternoon.
One of the most appealing aspects of this role to me was always the opportunity to work with the natural talent and incredible flair that our Indigenous players play the game with. I must admit while results haven’t been where we want them, I have at times during games and in training sessions found myself just watching in amazement the skills and the incredible things we see our Indigenous players do. In those moments, I become a spectator; I could sit and watch these moments all day long.
Today creates a great opportunity playing in a curtain-raiser to the AFL game for our Indigenous players and our entire playing group to play with energy, excitement and great pride, everything that the guernsey represents. While there will be a lot going on and a lot to focus on from a coaching perspective, I can’t wait for those moments that the people sitting in the stands also eagerly anticipate, for those couple of seconds I will find myself mostly in total awe of what we just saw.
Hopefully, they can be the moments that lead to a positive result and provide some reward for the effort of our entire group.