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'Let’s make a powerful stand in this space': Western Bulldogs move forward in reconciliation journey

Jarred Cross -

Western Bulldogs director and Wotjobaluk and Dja Dja Wurrung woman Belinda Duarte wants her club to take a "powerful stand" on reconciliation.

The club celebrated with a further step on their path this week with the launch of their second Reconciliation Action Plan. The Bulldogs launched their first RAP in 2018.

Players, coaches, club staff, and community foundation and board members attended the event at the club's home base.

The league and its clubs recognise a number of initiatives acknowledging Australia's First Nations history across the footy calendar.

Ms Duarte said that commitment extends further.

"To be able to celebrate all the progress we've made is so important," she said.

"That authentic sense of belonging, being seen and valued is fundamental to this space. Above all, I want us to feel that we are proud, brave individuals that stand for social justice. That we recognise that there is power in the collective and every day matters.

"Not just NAIDOC, not just Sir Doug Nicholls Round, not just Reconciliation week. Let's make a powerful stand in this space and continue to be a football club we're really proud of."

The Dogs have five listed First Nations players across their AFLW and AFL men's sides; Liam Jones, Arthur Jones, Naomi Ferres, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and new draftee Ryley Sanders.

Former players Lindsay Gilbee and Josh Carter attended the RAP launch.

"We are excited to develop and launch our second Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan," Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains said.

"We are proud of the great strides we have taken on our RAP journey, completing several initiatives which support the pathway to reconciliation and in building stronger links with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

"We look forward to strengthening our commitment through fulfilling the actions outlined in this RAP and through our unwavering dedication to supporting our diverse communities."

A number of AFL clubs, the league and state-based competitions and sides have registered Reconciliations Action Plans.

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