On May 21st of 2022 I went to the MCG with my niece, Mia, for the headline game of the AFL's Indigenous Round, where the sport celebrates indigenous culture in Australia and the significant contribution that indigenous Australians have made to the sport. The match was between Essendon and Richmond, two clubs that have been huge advocates of indigenous footballers for a long time, so it was fitting that they should face off in the big game.
Only a week or so earlier, the news had broken that Anthony McDonald Tippungwuti, Essendon's livewire indigenous forward and chase-down tackler extraordinaire was retiring from the sport. He'd become a huge cult figure at the club and amongst fans in a short space of time, with his exciting and game-changing brand of footy, so we were very disappointed that he wasn't playing... but he did stand with the team during the pre-game ceremony.
As with the Anzac Day clash, Essendon was outclassed again by a more experienced Richmond squad, but the night was fantastic. Starting with the 'Long Walk to the G', a 30 minute stroll from Federation Square to the MCG led by Essendon's indigenous legend Michael Long, a short concert of indigenous music in the darkened stadium before the game... and then whenever someone kicked a goal during the match, the sounds of the didgeridoo echoed around the stadium and filled the night. It was quite an experience...
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