Sam Newman’s rallying cry for AFL fans to boo at the welcome to country ceremony was roundly rejected by supporters at the AFL grand final.
The welcome home message was delivered by eldest uncle Colin Hunter Jnr, who also presented the ceremony during the Brownlow Medal and final grand parade.
Newman was furious about the ceremony and called on fans to react negatively to it before the deciding match.
“How about this, the next time you go to a public event like the grand final or a football match or any other public event in an auditorium and they welcome you to the country, start to boo… or slowly applaud,” he said.
Instead, the packed MCG hall greeted the ceremony with respectful silence.
Uncle Colin Hunter Jr is a respected Wurundjeri elder and hosted the welcome to country ceremony at the AFL grand final.
Uncle Colin Hunter Jr is pictured performing the Welcome to Country during the 2023 AFL Grand Final parade on Friday.
Uncle Colin Hunter Jr was also at the Brownlow Medal ceremony at the Crown Palladium to perform Welcome to Country.
Uncle Colin Hunter Jr is a respected Wurundjeri elder and the first traditional owner in Victoria to be employed in local government “in country”.
He worked with Yarra City Council for seven years, managing their Aboriginal partnership policy.
In addition to his important role in local government, Uncle Colin is also an emerging artist and has participated in several notable projects.
These include developing the Yarra City Council Reconciliation Action Plan, implementing the Indigenous Partnerships Plan and offering a welcome to country for notable events such as the visit of the Dalai Lama in Melbourne in 2014.
He was also invited to speak in Parliament in the Woiwurrung language when the new Yarra River Protection Bill was introduced in 2017.
It comes after the former co-host of The Footy Show and Geelong Football Club star called on AFL fans to boo the welcome to country ceremony during the grand final.
His comments angered many football fans with a petition launched to remove him from the sports Hall of Fame.
Controversial former AFL star Sam Newman initially called on fans to boo the welcome to country ceremony before softening his stance.
Newman, 77, would later soften his stance on the latest You Cannot Be Serious podcast alongside former Hawthorn legend Don Scott.
“I wouldn’t boo in the grand final, it was just a flippant line,” he said.
“But I disagree with the Welcome to Country in the grand final.”
“I said last week that we should boo Welcome to Country – that was an outlandish statement,” Newman added.
“(This recognition has) gone too far and social elites are only trying to reinforce their own white prejudices by feeling virtuous for continuing down this path.”
Hunter Jr’s Welcome to Country went like this:
“I would like to begin by recognizing that this afternoon we gather in the lands of my ancestors, the Wurundjeri people, and I would like to take this opportunity to pay respect to my elders, past, present and emerging,” a- he declared. .
“I would particularly like to pay my respects to all those gathered this afternoon. I would like to thank, salute and pay tribute to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have joined us. To welcome. The Wurundjeri people invite everyone to come ashore today.
“The Wurundjeri people want you to care for and protect the land as they did long before. Wurundjeri country extends from inner city Melbourne and crosses the Great Dividing Range mountains from south to east. The Wurundjeri people are part of the Wollwong nation and language.
“You are welcome to the land of the waterways of the Wurundjeri people. Welcome and enjoy the day. THANKS.’