• Will Porter (left), William Gumbula (middle) and Nicholas O'Riley (right). (AFLNT)Source: AFLNT
People across the Top End can tune into Yolŋu Radio 88.9FM this Saturday to hear the Brisbane Lions vs Western Bulldogs’ game being called in language.
Douglas Smith

3 Sep 2021 - 10:26 AM  UPDATED 3 Sep 2021 - 10:33 AM

In a historical move by the AFL, Saturday’s first semi-final game between the Brisbane Lions and Western Bulldogs will be broadcast live from the Gabba in the traditional Yolŋu Matha language.

The move comes after the inaugural in-language broadcast of the 2021 Dreamtime in Perth match.

Yolŋu man William Gumbula, who called that game alongside Daonga Maymuru and Wanharrawurr Mununggurr, is looking forward to the occasion.

“(I am) Very excited because this is the first time that I’ve been broadcasting here (Brisbane),” he told NITV News.  

“I think it’s (going to be) easy because English is our second language.

“I watched it (AFL) all my life as well, because all these years, I’ve been watching it through TV.”

Mr Gumbula, a Brisbane Lions fan, said he is starting to find his feet across the airwaves in the Top End. 

“I was very nervous when I called it but this time second time I will be prepared for it," he said.

“I’ve been working in radio for six months now.”

Yolŋu Radio broadcasts into the six major communities and 15 homelands throughout the North-East Arnhem Land region and across Darwin and Palmerston. 

Speaking to NITV News on Thursday, Yolŋu Radio Digital Manager, Nicholas O’Riley said it was good for Yolngu people who are keen AFL fans. 

“It’s very special not only for our radio station but for William and Baykali Ganambarr who are calling it this weekend but also the North-East Arnhem Land community,” said Mr O’Riley. 

“We also broadcast into Darwin and Palmerston as well because there’s a big Yolŋu population there.

“People right across the top end will be able to enjoy the footy this weekend in Yolŋu Matha.”

AFL Executive General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy, Tanya Hosch said the broadcast was another great opportunity to strengthen the longstanding connection between Indigenous communities and Australian Football.

"It’s an honour for the game to be invited into remote communities in the Northern Territory and have the opportunity to strengthen our commitment of being an inclusive sport," said Ms Hosch. 

"A number of traditional Aboriginal dialects have unfortunately been lost throughout generations, so to have AFL matches broadcast in traditional Yolngu Matha language is a special occasion for Yolngu communities and a privilege for the game."

AFL Dreamtime clash to be broadcast in Yolŋu Matha
In an historic first, Yolŋu Radio broadcasters Daonga Maymuru, William Gumbula and Wanharrawurr Mununggurr will call the match in the language from Nhulunbuy.