Essendon recruit and Yorta Yorta man Jade Gresham will be playing in his first Dreamtime match, an occasion that has been close to his heart growing up, given the inaugural clash was played when the small forward was just six years old.

"Few first memories, I think the first one I came to, I did a bit of Auskick in the middle there, so that was pretty cool as a young fella, coming to one of them. There is also the Long Walk, I did one of them one year," Gresham said. 

"It's a special game for Indigenous people, it's one of the rounds you circle at the start of the year and want to be in as a player and hopefully can do my family and friends proud this weekend.


"This will be my first Dreamtime game as a player, I grew up coming to these games as a little fella, and I guess this is one of the reasons why you want to come to a club like Essendon, to play in these games and represent your culture and Indigenous people, so really looking out to running out on Saturday night with the boys and putting on a good show."

Essendon legend Michael Long was asked about his role on Saturday night, responding "just in the forward pocket" with a hint of a grin.

"It's gone very quickly. Obviously 20 years of the Long Walk, we actually brought the walk forward last year in line with the referendum. We knew it was going to be a big ask from Australia, but we continue the work we do, and use football as a platform for reconciliation and bringing people together," Long said.


"It's what I've learned in the game, the passion and love for the sport, to use that platform to do that.

"It's quite a special one for us this year, to not only to celebrate what we've done in schools and education, it's been an important part, football's played an integral part in lifting that for us."