First held during NAIDOC Week in 2005, Dreamtime at the ‘G aims to recognise the contribution of Indigenous players to the AFL.
The game has grown since then. In 2006 the Yiooken Award was introduced, and given to the best on ground for the match. Other winners of the award include James Hird, Jobe Watson, and Dustin Martin winning the award back to back in 2016 and 2017.
That year Richmond won by two points, with the match-winning score achieved with only minutes left in the 4th quarter.
From a single game, in 2007 the Indigenous Round was introduced. It is now an annual event, held in round 9 each year.
Dreamtime at the G’ has always a top attraction for spectators, and you can be part of the big crowd with Dreamtime at the G Medallion Club tickets.
2007 was another memorable match, in which Richmond gave up a two goal lead with 5 minutes to go. Essendon pulled a draw out of the bag, but wasn’t able to take the win.
In 2004, Michael Long staged The Long Walk. Long walked half way from Canberra to Melbourne to get Indigenouspeople’s lives back in the national discourse.
The Long Walk is now a charity, and the event now takes place between Federation Square and the MCG prior to the Dreamtime match. Many thousands of people join in the walk each year, including politicians and public figures.
Covid disrupted the match in 2020, and it was played at Marrara Oval in Darwin. Shai Bolton designed the Richmond guernsey, and won the Yiooken Medal.
Again in 2021 the match was relocated due to Covid-19 lockdowns. Richmond won the match in Perth by 39 points.
The match has been preceded by a curtain-raiser between two indigenous teams. Nowadays, the pre-game entertainment show featuring indigenous music and culture.
Indigenous football champion Kevin Sheedy now has his name on the cup given to the match winner each year. Richmond has won 11 times, while Essendon has won 7 times. Sheedy played for Richmond, and is Essendon’s most successful coach in the modern era, coaching Essendon to four premierships.
Later in the year the two teams meet again at the MCG in Round 23. While the date and time isn’t confirmed yet you can lock in your Essendon v Richmond tickets already.