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Indigenous Connection

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this article contains images and names of people who have passed away.

South Fremantle Football Club acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Few clubs in Australia can boast having so many talented Aboriginal footballers pass through its ranks. The first family to make an impact on the football scene were the Hayward brothers Bill, Eric and Maley in the 1936-1937 seasons. But the man to open the floodgates that heralded a new era of Aboriginal influence at the club came down from Darwin in 1972 one, Sebastian Rioli.

In relatively quick succession over the next decade some of the greatest names in the club's history arrived including; Basil Campbell, Mr Magic Maurice Rioli, dual Sandover Medalist Stephen Michael, the talented Benny Vigona, Wally Matera, Willy Roe, Nicky Winmar and Brad Collard. And it didn't stop there as further members of the Rioli, Matera, Campbell, Michael and Collard families soon left their mark as the McGrath brothers are doing today. 

In excess of seventy aboriginal footballers have played league for the Bulldogs. There have been four All Australians, winning between them two Sandover Medals, two Norm Smith Medals, four Simpson Medals, one Tassie Medal and numerous fairest and best awards. 

Stephen Michael holds the record for playing 210 games in succession from 1975 to 1983, a rare feat. He also polled 37 Sandover Medal votes in 1981 beating South Fremantle's Frank "Scranno' Jenkins, record total of 34 in 1937. 

In 2009 South Fremantle selected its Indigenous Team of the Century:

Ashley McGrath, Shannon Cox, Roger Hayden, Willie Roe, Basil Campbell, Toby McGrath, Nicky Winmar, Maurice Rioli, Peter Matera, Benny Vigona, Stevan Jackson, Dean Rioli, Jeff Farmer, Mark Williams, Phil Matera, Stephen Michael, Brad Collard, Wally Matera, Brad Hayward, Cliff Collard, Sebastian Rioli and Clem Michael.

Modern era South Fremantle Indigenous stars, many recognisable in football-loving loungerooms nationwide, include Tim Kelly, Marlion Pickett, Matty Parker, Ben Rioli, Brendon Ah Chee and Jesse Motlop.