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Indigenous pride headlines AFL Homecoming

Katie Lander and Harry Ireland in the Indigenous strip the Bull Sharks will wear on Saturday.

by Holly Slattery

The Bull Sharks will pull on an Indigenous guernsey for two major home games at The Canal on Saturday in celebration of First Nations culture and its contribution to the game of AFL.

The annual Sir Doug Nicholls Round comes ahead of National Sorry Day on May 26 and Reconciliation Day on May 30, and precedes NAIDOC Week which is set for the beginning of July this year.

The guernsey, designed by Bond’s own Narelle Urquhart, tells the story of the natural environment the Bull Sharks AFL and rugby clubs call home, and the role sport plays in bringing people and cultures together. 

Bull Shark Katie Lander says she's devastated to miss this week’s game because of a foot injury.

However the Darumbal woman says she will celebrate the players wearing the guernsey and the Smoke Ceremony which will take place before the game because it speaks to her of Bond’s commitment to reconciliation.

“For me, I think Australia has really moved forward with its approach to First Nations people,’’ Lander said.

“I think we are trying to be more inclusive and a round like this is really important because it shows Bond cares about our culture.

“It shows the uni is willing to make sure we are included, and they want us to feel included.

“And this piece of artwork on the guernsey tells the story about being at Bond and The Canal and what the Bull Sharks are about, so that is really good.’’

The women’s senior team will take on the Southport Sharks who are new to the QAFLW competition in 2022 and remain undefeated, while the men’s seniors face the Robina Roos who will be looking to redeem their 42-point loss to the home team in the first round.

Bond halfback and Northern Territory Football League life member Lateesha Jeffrey relocated from the Northern Territory last month and is set to play her fourth QAFLW game for Bond University this Saturday.

She says the team is eager for the challenge that Southport will bring to Bond’s Homecoming weekend.

“We’re looking forward to this weekend against Southport who are a new team in the league but have hit the ground running,” Jeffrey said.

“They’re undefeated so we’re looking forward to the challenge, especially after the marginal loss we had last weekend against UQ.”

The Kukatj and Woolwonga woman is excited to play in QAFLW’s Indigenous round.

“For me personally, to play any Indigenous round, whether it’s my Country or not, is really important to me and I feel honoured to wear an Indigenous-designed guernsey.

“Having grown up around football, it’s pretty much part of our culture and it has been since I was born.

“I feel really honoured to be down here on different Country and to play alongside some of our First Nations players and for our First Nations supporters, family and the people in the community.

“Bond has a really young team but from staff to the players and beyond that, they’ve just embraced me and it’s exciting that I get to share a bit about my culture in the lead-up to this round.”

Harry Ireland of the Palawa mob will play his second Sir Doug Nicholls Round this weekend with the men’s senior team and is looking forward to keeping the Bull Sharks’ winning streak alive.

“We’ve got our team at full strength at the moment which is really good to see for the first time this season,” Ireland said.

“I think we’ll go in with the same game plan as always and just really give it a crack and see what our team can do because we’re still gelling and just starting to come along really nicely.

“Robina were in pretty good nick last time we played them so I think it’ll be a really good game.”

The women’s seniors will kick off at 12pm ahead of the men’s side who will bring it home from 2pm.

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