• Essendon's Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Richmond's Daniel Rioli following the 2019 Dreamtime at the G match. (Getty Images AsiaPac)Source: Getty Images AsiaPac
One of the AFL's biggest games of the year has been moved to the Top End, with 'Dreamtime at the G' now being held at TIO Stadium in Darwin in late August.
Douglas Smith

31 Jul 2020 - 2:58 PM  UPDATED 1 Sep 2020 - 1:45 PM

In what is one of the biggest and most celebrated games of the year, Dreamtime at the 'G will become a far more exclusive event late next month when Richmond takes on Essendon in Darwin to open the Sir Doug Nicholls Round. 

The game between the Tigers and the Bombers which usually draws around 80,000 spectators to the MCG in Victoria, will now be held at Darwin's TIO Stadium, which boasts a capacity of 12,500 people. 

In a statement on Friday, NT Chief Minister, Michael Gunner announced that football was coming to "Rioli and Long country."

“The Territory is the spiritual home of the Dreamtime game," said Mr Gunner. 

“The first ever Dreamtime in Darwin between the Bombers and the Tigers is a significant cultural and sporting milestone for the Territory and for the nation, as we honour the contribution of Indigenous players, past and present.

“We have the historic opportunity to host the Dreamtime game because we are the safest – and we will keep doing whatever it takes to stay the safest."

Prior to the game, Mr Gunner said there would be a COVID-19 Safety Plan approved and overseen by the Chief Health Officer with strict protocols in place.

"Nobody – no players, officials, or broadcasters – will be coming here from hot spot areas. We will stay safe.”

Speaking to AFL Media, AFL social policy and inclusion manager Tanya Hosch said this year marked the 25th anniversary of the Discrimination and Racial and Religious Vilification Act, which was introduced in  1995. 

“This act clearly signalled that racial and religious vilification would no longer be tolerated in Australian Football. We continue to prioritise an inclusive environment for all people within the industry and focus on identifying strategies targeted at the prevention of vilification before it occurs," said Ms Hosch. 

“Through the hard work and dedication of our playing group, past and present, community leaders and industry leaders, we’re able to collectively work towards a future with no racism in our game.

“Sir Doug Nicholls Round creates a platform to profile players who have changed the game’s history and faced racism and discrimination to fight for equality and recognition, such as Syd Jackson has."

This year's round will not only pay tribute to Sir Doug Nicholls, who played for Fitzroy between 1932–1937, but it will also honour two-time premiership Carlton player, Syd Jackson who played for the club between 1969–1976, creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The AFL is also expected to announce other Round 13 matches next week, following the news regarding the feature match of the fixture.

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