AFL makes historic return to Birchgrove Oval for Indigenous round

Balmain Tigers Australian Rules Football Club will make a historic return to Birchgrove Oval this Saturday when the club hosts its second Pemulwuy Shield game, which is part of the league’s annual Indigenous round.

The day will include a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, traditional music and dancing before the Sydney AFL Platinum Division Round 9 clash between Balmain and Western Magic, with the Pemulwuy Shield awarded to the winners of the game.

The Tigers will wear specially designed Indigenous jumpers on Saturday designed by local artist Peta Joy, with Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne officiating at the event as the club’s number one ticket holder.

“This club has a long and proud history that dates back to 1903. The club’s first games were played at Birchgrove Oval, but is currently having to play home games in Marrickville because of the shortage of fields in our community,” said Mayor Byrne.

“I promised before the last Council election to bring AFL back to Birchgrove Oval and this Saturday I’m delivering on that commitment.

“With the Tigers playing its first game on the ground in decades, one of the Sydney AFL’s foundation clubs is finally returning to the peninsula,” he added.

Tigers President John Little said the club is delighted to hold the fixture in the heart of Birchgrove for the first time following the success of the inaugural Pemulwuy Shield match in 2017.

“Honouring our Indigenous family on the day is incredibly important with the highlight being the players standing to attention as the Uluru Statement from the Heart is read in full,” he said.

Senior Coach Daniel Bourke joined with Little in stating the club hopes the awareness created by this special event will increase the likelihood of constitutional change called for by the Uluru statement.

“The club strongly supports the constitutional reform required to have these matters enshrined, as we push to make our past truthful and our future hopeful,” he said.

John Little said Saturday also marks the club’s long-awaited return to Birchgrove Oval.

“Not only does this bring our football club home, it brings us back to the local community,” he said.

“Being part of the community is of significant importance to us, strengthening our commitment, supporting local junior development and growth of the game, and enjoying the support of local residents.”

Saturday’s game is the first of three games scheduled for the Tigers this season at Birchgrove Oval with all welcome to enjoy a wonderful community day out starting from 12:30pm (Saturday, 2 June).

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Page last updated: 20 Nov 2018