05/03/2024

AFL legend Michael Long is bringing the Long Walk to the BBL. (Picture: The Long Walk)

AFL legend Michael Long will lead the Renegades’ first Little Long Walk as part of the club’s endeavour to continue to educate and celebrate first nations people and culture.

Having implemented The Long Walk in the AFL’s ‘Dreamtime at the ‘G’, Michael Long hopes to mirror the success in the Big Bash League.

Speaking to media ahead of the First Nations Round clash between the Melbourne Renegades and the Melbourne Stars, Long shared some light on what he hopes to achieve by conducting the maiden Little Long Walk.

“It’s great to have that discussion with the Renegades [and] to be part of their Indigenous Round,” Long explained.

“When you look back at the history of footy here and cricket, there is some synergy there [and] we’d love to grow this. If people could come along on [Saturday] and try and support what we are doing, what we are trying to achieve with football [already], we are trying to mirror that here with cricket as well.”

Long continued to describe the impact that educating people through sport has on all communities Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

“Sport can actually change the way we’ve done things in the past and how we can bring people together and that’s what we’ve done with the footy,” he said.

“It brings a lot of the communities, the fans, the supporters, and most importantly the players, we talk about the history and the culture of our game.

“That’s important because of where we are and this year with the referendum and our voice to parliament, it’s a really important year for Aboriginal people and all Australians to get on board.

“This could be the start of something we can build upon and a pathway for our youth with boys and girls cause they love the sport, as Australians, we all love sport so why not build on something.”

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Celebrating his 100th BBL match when he takes to the field on Saturday night, veteran Renegades bowler Kane Richardson discusses the First Nations jersey and what it means for the team to wear it.

“To be honest I want to wear this all year round because it looks awesome, but the main thing we’ve tried to emphasise in this team is not to make it a jersey we put on, we want to learn about it,” Richardson said.

“We’ve got guys that come from overseas [and] we want to leave them with a bit of education. We all need to learn more about it, we just had a presentation from ‘Joshy’ Lalor who played in the past for us and is a proud Indigenous man.

“I think it’s okay to feel like you don’t know everything but we have an appetite to want to know more so it all starts [Saturday] night but as Michael said hopefully this is something that keeps growing and getting bigger and if we wear it all year round that would be even better I reckon.”

One of the biggest rivalries in BBL is the Melbourne Derby between the two Melbourne-based sides, the Renegades and the Stars.

With many memorable encounters just added to by the recent ‘Mankad’ incident instigated by Stars bowler Adam Zampa this season, this upcoming clash is sure to be an exciting contest.

Richardson explained the rivalry that the teams share and how it is only added to with these incidents and not detracted from.

“That stuff doesn’t necessarily change the will of each team to win, if anything, it just adds another layer to the history of these two teams,” he said.

“That’s what the Big Bash was initially brought up [with], you basically play your rival twice a year and everyone else once, so they are a team that we are familiar with and want to win [against].

“There are so many moments over the past twelve years, the warning, Marlon Samuels [and] there’s been a few other things I’ve been involved in as well. So there’s definitely history there and it adds [a] layer to it all but it doesn’t take away from each team wanting to win the game.”

Currently, in fourth position on the ladder, the Renegades have been on and off this season with their inconsistent form seen in glimpses of other teams around the mark on the ladder.

Richardson explained that this is just part of the T20 format however the Renegades hope that their best run of form is ahead of them.

“I think for a few teams it’s been that kind of season where it’s been [where] we’ve won three or four [games] and lost three or four, it’s just that kind of season and it’s just the nature of T20 [cricket],” he said.

“I think it all starts [Saturday] night for any team that’s pushing for finals, it starts now. The Stars are going to be keen to knock us off because of the rivalry and because their season is on the line as well.

“I think we are playing decent cricket it doesn’t always necessarily result in wins and losses because the game is of that nature. I think with a few personnel changes that we’ve had in the last couple of games it has taken a bit of time but I think we are playing decent cricket.”

The Melbourne Renegades face the Melbourne Stars at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night for derby bragging rights in First Nations Round.

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