Tonight I want you to think about this. I believe we in football are sitting at an historical pivot point. People like Michael Long and Nathan Lovett-Murray show us that one man can change many. Programs like Clontarf show us that we can bring on this change in great numbers.
Every AFL team is now engaged with Indigenous Australia in helping to improve lives. Like Essendon, Richmond Football Club has committed to supporting reconciliation in
Australia by launching the Maurice Rioli Reconciliation Action Plan and continues to invest and commit to Indigenous programs through the club’s Korin Gamadji Institute for Education and Leadership.
But we must not get complacent. Having finally recognised what footy can do for our Indigenous brothers and sisters let’s harness the connection for all it’s worth.
That means being brave enough to honestly talk through the difficulties. And it means being wildly imaginative in letting footy carve new pathways to true reconciliation and equality.
This night is one to cherish. It’s a night to pay tribute to the trailblazers who had the dream and turned it into a permanent and much-loved part of our fixture.
Excerpt from Essendon FC Chairman David Evans’ address at the 2012 Dreamtime at the G match between Essendon FC & Richmond FC