THE AFL’s Indigenous Round is not until next weekend but the Melbourne Demons will take the step of wearing their indigenous guernsey in today’s clash against the Adelaide Crows in Alice Springs.
Melbourne defender Neville Jetta and Crow Eddie Betts, likely opponents in the 2.50pm Round 10 clash at Traeger Park, were on hand to display the jumpers both sides will wear next weekend.
The guernsey design has added an extra dimension to the clash between the third and fourth placed sides on the AFL ladder.
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Cindy Prior, an aunty of Jetta’s teammate Jeff Garlett, and Roger Rigney, the uncle of Crow Wayne Milera, are the artists responsible for the spectacular artwork.
On the field, Melbourne’s 25 per cent winning record at Traeger Park will improve to almost 67 per cent if they can get over the Crows.
Jetta said today’s matchup with a Crows side leading the competition in contested ball was the ideal mid-season test for his Demons as they sought an answer to where they were in terms of a top-four side.
“It doesn’t matter who the players out there wearing Crows jumpers are, they are going to play their brand of footy and we need to match them,” he said.
“We’ve played here a few times, so we know the ground and the weather that is always great this time of year and the Alice fans are full of passion, you see and hear that when you run out on the field.’’
Milera, one of three changes to the Crows side that beat the Western Bulldogs last week, said any opportunity to represent his family and indigenous people everywhere was a huge honour.
“And it’s a significant game in a lot of other ways with it being played in Alice Springs where the indigenous way of life and culture is very important for our people,’’ he said.
“It’s good to get up to the Alice and expand the game, we love it up here where the game of footy is a big part of everyone’s life.”
Milera and the Crows flew into Alice Springs yesterday knowing a win over Melbourne would lift them to another level on the ladder.
“Plus both sides are on a good run of form, we’ve won four from five and only just lost to Port Adelaide and Melbourne’s looking at a fifth straight win themselves,’’ he said.