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Essendon-Richmond to play Dreamtime in Darwin … or will they?

Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan City were declared hotspots and added to the territory’s list of prohibited areas, which already included numerous local government areas in New South Wales.

The AFL has effectively relocated all 10 Victorian AFL clubs, as well as hundreds of family members, to the sunshine state for the rest of the home-and-away season.

From midnight on Friday, anyone travelling to the NT from those three areas in Queensland must enter two weeks of mandatory supervised quarantine at a government-approved facility.

The remainder of AFL round 13 is likely to be announced next week.

Earlier, Tanya Hosch, the AFL’s social policy and inclusion manager, said playing the Dreamtime game, which is normally held at the MCG, in Darwin for the first time would be a special moment.

“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,” Hosch said.

“2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Discrimination and Racial and Religious Vilification Act which was introduced in 1995.

Richmond and Essendon players line up together at Dreamtime at the 'G last year.

Richmond and Essendon players line up together at Dreamtime at the ‘G last year.Credit:Getty Images

“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.”

This year’s round, while continuing to celebrate Nicholls, will also recognise legend Syd Jackson’s contribution to the game and the community.


Richmond and Essendon are both vying for finals spots with the game expected to play a significant role in shaping the final eight as the 17-round season draws to a conclusion.

The match will be played just weeks after the league had to apologise to the game’s Indigenous players and their families for any distress caused when a miscommunication led to Indigenous players being told they had to have pneumococcal vaccinations before entering Queensland.

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