The Seven Greatest Indigenous AFL Players Of The 21st Century
Getting these seven together on the field? Now that would be dream(time).
It's the AFL's Sir Doug Nicholls Round this weekend, the week named in honour of Nicholls, a footballer and tireless campaigner for reconciliation who was the first Indigenous Australian to be knighted, and who played in the VFL with the Fitzroy Lions in the 1930s.
Formerly known as the Indigenous Round, this is the round when the unique, enthralling footy skills of Indigenous Australians are celebrated. Here are seven of the best we've seen so far this century.
We knew he'd be on this list, you knew he'd be on this list, space aliens who've never heard of the great game of Australian Rules footy knew he'd be on this list. Is it because he's now 7th (with 928) on the all-time list of AFL goal-kickers? Yeah, nah. Mostly it's because he's just Buddy brilliant, and when the ball goes anywhere near him, you dare not look away.
Those eyes. Those arms. The balance. You just knew Andrew McLeod was going to use the ball well every single time he had it. The above picture was taken in the Crows champ's final AFL season in 2010. Everyone remembers his dual premierships and Norm Smith medals in 1997 and '98. But much of his best footy was in the 21st century too.
What can you say? Mercurial. Brilliant. Inspirational on and off the field. Two premierships, two Brownlows. There is no finer footballer or Australian. Little else needs to be said about Goodes.
Eddie Betts does impossible things that are so far beyond description, they can only be filed under "Eddie Betts". In addition to his weekly dose of magic on the field, Betts is a gutsy campaigner against racists cowards, and a children's author.
Micky O. The man had it all. And when the Swans beat the West Coast on their own patch in the 2006 qualifying final and got in the face of fans, it was one of the most satisfying things ever for anyone who lived east of the Nullarbor.
Four premierships, one Norm Smith Medal, one hilarious McAvaney line, and one enormous legacy. A football genius.
He was an artist on the field, who helped deliver Port Adelaide its only premiership (in 2004). He is also an accomplished indigenous artist off the field. You can check out his work here.
The Sir Doug Nicholls Round begins on Friday night with the Swans vs Collingwood match at the SCG.
Contact the author firstname.lastname@example.org