IN HIS HIGHLY influential history of Australian rules football, Geoffrey Blainey promoted the idea that the sport constituted a ‘game of our own’. In making this claim, Blainey suggested the sport was the outcome of Anglo-Australian cultural innovations. In raising the prospect of an Aboriginal football ethic we question this assertion and ask who is really taking this indigenous sport forward today.
Come on Haasts Bluff! One more goal. You still have a chance to win. Not much longer now. From the boundary line, we felt sure this clarion call through the public announcement system signalled that match officials were holding off calling an end to the game. Though played on Papunya’s oval, with the home team, the Eagles, ahead and the ball in their hands, the local opposition from nearby Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) was being given a chance to come back. Despite a berth in the next round, prize money and personal pride at stake, the Papunya elders who organised the event were less concerned about their team winning and more about ensuring each community got a fair go.
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