Fremantle forward Bailey Banfield spoke about the importance of Sir Doug Nicholls Round for the whole Fremantle playing group during Monday’s media launch at Optus Stadium.
Freo will run out in a Michael Walters and Peter Farmer Junior designed jumper on Sunday against Collingwood at Optus Stadium, with Walters set to become the first Fremantle AFL player to have the chance to wear his own design in a game.
As a non-Indigenous Australian, Banfield understands the importance of recognising the impact Indigenous players have had on the game.
“I love Sir Doug Nicholls Round. It’s really important, not just for the Indigenous boys but for the whole community,” Banfield said.
“Reconciliation is a whole of Australia project, not just the Indigenous or non Indigenous community. It’s about us coming together as a country and learning more about different cultures. That’s what is really special to me.
“There’s a different theme each year, so you learn more about the culture. At the club, we do a lot in the Indigenous space through our RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan) and player engagement.
“Learning more about Indigenous culture really connects you more strongly to the players who are Indigenous but also the broader community and the Indigenous community.
“The more we know about each other and the more common ground we have, the more the connection is going to be. That’s where the story telling aspect of Sir Doug Nicholls Round is really powerful for me.”
Fremantle are hoping to use the Collingwood clash to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Gold Coast – only their second of the season after nine rounds.
Freo squandered most of their forward advances, recording 65 inside 50s to Gold Coast’s 36, but scoring only four goals.
“It was a frustrating game. We had a lot of opportunities and we didn’t take them,” Banfield said.
“We’ve spoken about how we’re maturing as a playing group in responding to challenges, and this is a challenge for us to keep showing that maturing process.”
Banfield has nine games to his name in 2022, however five of those were as a medical sub with him coming on in two of those games.
His best performance of the season came against North Melbourne, where he kicked 2.3 and earned one coaches vote.
He said that Fremantle’s depth has made it hard to break into the team.
“Our forward unit has been really strong all year, that’s been reflected on how I’ve been in and out of the team and with the medi sub role, because we’ve got such great depth,” Banfield said.
“We’ve had really good availability up until the last couple of weeks as well. I’ve been really happy with how my game has gone, I feel like I’ve taken it to another level with my forward craft, which has been pleasing for me.”