Roos urges embrace of indigenous culture

Melbourne players aren’t just donning an indigenous guernsey this week, but painted boots too.

Demons forward Jeff Gartlett has arranged for the painting ahead of their match with Port Adelaide in Alice Springs on Tuesday.

Indigenous players will be well-represented in the red centre clash; Melbourne will field Garlett and Neville Jetta while Port Adelaide have eight indigenous players on their AFL list.

The Demons have adopted the spirit of the round in the lead-up to Saturday’s game.

With Jay Kennedy-Harris, Melbourne’s three indigenous players gave a presentation to the club’s new and first-year players on their background and family history.

Garlett also organised dance group ‘The Fighting Gunditjmara’ to perform for the team’s list, which also took in the documentary made about Sir Douglas Nicholls who lends his name to the indigenous round years after his death.

Nicholls was the first Aboriginal to play for Victoria, who turned out 54 times for Fitzroy.

Coach Paul Roos met the trailblazer after joining the Lions as a first-year player.

“I started there in 1981, 1982 and he passed away in 1985,” Roos said.

“Seeing his story yesterday presented to us by Nev (Jetta), it hits home.

“I did Australian history in year 12 and it’s staggering how I didn’t learn a story as amazing as that.

“You learn about World War One and Sovereign Hill, the Goldfields and Federation … but you learn nothing about those sorts of things which is a bit of an embarassment for us as a country.

“Those sort of things should come out more regularly, not just in indigenous round.

“I love it. It’s an amazing part of our culture and history and the (indigenous) players that I’ve been associated with have been amazing people and amazing players.”

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