IN HONOUR of AFLW Indigenous Round, Melbourne and North Melbourne took part in a cultural gift exchange on Saturday night at Casey Fields.

Performed ahead of the special match, Melbourne’s captain Daisy Pearce was joined by proud Kija Jaru teammate Krstel Petrevski, with Indigenous women Kaitlyn Ashmore, Mia King and Perry King standing alongside North Melbourne skipper Emma Kearney.

The Demons gifted a Marngrook to North, which was made by Bernadette Atkinson from the Wolithiga Clan of the Yorta Yorta Nations.

The word Marngrook originates from the Gunditjmara language and means ‘game ball’.

Marngrook, commonly made with possum skin, was used by many First Nation groups throughout Victoria and in parts of New South Wales as a recreational activity. It was a socially inclusive game, with men and women playing together.  

Charcoal, fur and dried reeds were used as a filling, while it was stitched together with kangaroo sinew.

The Demons were fortunate enough to receive a Malgarr shield, created by Taungwurrung Kulin artist Mick Harding. Malgarr were used traditionally with Liyangayil (Fighting Sticks) for combat and to defend from enemies.

The giving of gifts has been part of Aboriginal culture since the beginning of days and remains a meaningful custom to express care for each other.

The special moment took place ahead of the coin toss, which was performed by junior mascots Amilia and Annalise, proud Indigenous sisters from the Casey region.

It followed a Welcome to Country by Uncle Mik Edwards from the Bunurong Land Council, which welcomed all members, supporters and players to the Casey region.