Essendon will proudly wear its 2022 Under Armour Dreamtime guernsey for the 18th annual Dreamtime clash with Richmond on Saturday, May 21.
Designed by star forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, the guernsey incorporates the Bombers’ past and present First Nations players while depicting a journey through different terrains to finish at a central meeting place - the NEC Hangar.
The feet that walk along the sash reflect the past First Nations players who have represented the club as they head towards the Essendon family, including players, coaches and staff at the circle in the centre.
The words ‘Faith, Freedom and Family’ are included on the guernsey's inside - three key pillars in McDonald-Tipungwuti’s life.
Over the club’s 150 years, Essendon has had many Indigenous players represent the red and black, something the club is incredibly proud of.
Michael Long, a two-time premiership player and a Norm Smith medallist, and Gavin Wanganeen, the first Indigenous player to win a Brownlow Medal, a two-time premiership player and 300-gamer, are just two First Nations stars who have donned the sash.
But before these legends, Norm McDonald became the first First Nations player to represent Essendon back in the 1940s.
McDonald, a half-back flanker with blistering speed and great skills, played 127 games for the club between 1947 and 1953.
During this time, McDonald played in two premierships, won the club’s best first-year player and claimed the club’s best and fairest in 1953, in a side filled with Team of the Century greats including Bill Hutchison, John Coleman and Harold Lambert.
Four decades later, Long arrived at the Bombers from Darwin via West Torrens in Adelaide to make his debut in round one, 1989.
Across his 13 seasons in the red and black, Long became known for his speed, elusive passages of play and great skills, with his weaving runs exciting any football fan.
Long played 190 games, won two premierships, claimed a Norm Smith Medal in 1993, earned two All-Australian selections, and in 1999 became the first Indigenous player to captain an AFL team.
Since retiring, Long has continued to make significant impacts off the field by being a pioneering force against the racial abuse of First Nations peoples.
Following an on-field incident in 1995, Long made a stand by declaring racial abuse had no place in sport and the wider Australian society.
On November 21, 2004, Long made the historic trek from his home suburb of Melbourne to Parliament House in Canberra to highlight the needs of First Nations peoples and ensure that those in Parliament were discussing these issues.
Along the way, thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous supporters joined Long.
On Friday, December 3, Long met with then-Prime Minister John Howard to discuss issues impacting First Nations peoples.
In recognition of this remarkable feat, Long, alongside thousands of supporters, walk from Federation Square to the MCG alongside Birrarung Marr each year ahead of Essendon’s annual Dreamtime match in recognition of his charity - The Long Walk.
Essendon is proud to work with Long and The Long Walk each year in the lead-up to Dreamtime to ensure that First Nations culture is highlighted and embraced by wider Australia.
When the Bombers take on Richmond in this year’s Dreamtime clash, they will be honouring past players, from McDonald to Long and Wanganeen, Dale Kickett to Dean Rioli, Nathan Lovett-Murray to Alwyn Davey and every First Nations player who has represented the red and black.
The match will also be extremely special for current Bombers players, Tex Wanganeen, son of Gavin, and McDonald-Tipungwuti.
Fans can click here to purchase their 2022 Under Armour Dreamtime guernsey from the Bomber Shop.