Players, staff and fans of the Fremantle Football Club shared an important morning together on Friday at Bathers Beach for their annual smoking ceremony ahead of the 2024 season.

Uncle Richard Walley, Kwinana deputy mayor Barry Winmar, Roger Hayden and the Club’s Indigenous Multicultural Liaison Officer Che Wyatt led the morning’s smoking ceremony.

Speaking post-ceremony, Wyatt said the Club’s connection to Indigenous and multicultural players was deeply entrenched in Fremantle’s history. 

"Supporting this Club has always been easy because at any time in its 30-year history, I could put on a purple jumper and feel represented."

- Che Wyatt

“The significance of something like today is continuing and stretching the Club’s commitment to embedding Indigenous culture and multiculturalism into our DNA, which has been Fremantle’s identity for a long time, so it’s about continuing that commitment.”

Wyatt is a proud Wongatha, Yamatji, Noongar, Adnyamathanha man who recently joined Fremantle as an Indigenous and Multicultural Liaison Officer in January.

He says he has leaned on the knowledge of NGA coach and Club legend Hayden for guidance during this time. 

“Being a Freo supporter myself he’s (Hayden) someone that I’ve looked up to for a long time when he was on the field, so it’s been a privilege to have him as a mentor off the field,” Wyatt said.

Fremantle's Indigenous Multicultural Liaison Officer Che Wyatt

 “He knows the ropes, he knows this Football Club really well, better than most that are still here at the Club.

“Being a man that has such a strong connection to culture as well, he’s been such a great help to me. He lets me take the lead but then also offers guidance whenever he can.”

Fremantle has had over 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women drafted to the Club throughout its history, with Wyatt saying Indigenous men and women are a pillar-stone in AFL Club’s league wide. 

“I think smoking ceremonies, cultural practice and creating environments where multiculturalism is celebrated shouldn’t get treated as extraordinary, it’s the standard and is the minimum that should be happening,” Wyatt said. 

“People from those backgrounds (Indigenous and multicultural) have helped build the foundations of Clubs that are in the league today. 

“Once that becomes the standard then it will only get better from there.”

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