Dylan, Joshua (centre) and Jonas will line up for the Rams and celebrate their culture as part of Indigenous Round in the RDFNL this weekend.
Rockbank Rams Football Sporting Club has been home to multicultural and Indigenous Australians for many years.
The club has a rich history spanning over 97-years and it is currently home to three gifted Indigenous Australians from the Northern Territory; Dylan Dos Santos; Joshua Williams and Jonas Niki.
Riddell District Football Netball League fans would be familiar with the Niki name; with Damien playing at Sunbury Kangaroos and Rockbank. He is the uncle to Jonas.
Dylan Dos Santos is more outspoken than Joshua and Jonas. He joined Rockbank this season after crossing from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.
The 19-year-old finished his VCE last year and is preparing for a cold Melbourne winter; as opposed to temperatures in the 20s during the middle of winter in Tennant Creek.
Dylan grew up in a town with a population of 3000; and half of those are Aboriginal. The concept of the AFL hosting an Indigenous Round is foreign to him because there were so many Indigenous Australians back home.
He grew up with a father who was Aboriginal and a mother with a Portuguese background. His father loved football; and grew up with boxing; while mum loved soccer.
Dylan learned the self-defence through boxing; and the team work; and friendship in football.
Back home in Tennant Creek, football was life to Dylan and his friends.
“Football has been a part of my family for as long as I can remember,” Dylan says.
“There is always someone kicking a footy around in Tennant Creek.”
Dylan says that playing football in that region keeps everyone together; out of trouble and interacting in an inclusive manner.
Dylan arrived at the Rockbank in 2017 after being contacted by co-coach Leigh McInerney via social media.
McInerney had social ties with Dylan’s family in Darwin and was eager to get the young, talented football down to the club to be part of something special.
“It was a chance to better my football and I’ve taken it with both hands,” Dylan says.
Dylan played football with the Wanderers alongside former AFL star Shannon Motlop in the Northern Territory Football League.
With Joshua and Jonas also coming down to Melbourne from the Northern Territory, the trio formed a close bond and have helped each other adapt to Melbourne and the Rockbank Football Sporting Club.
“It (them being here) has set me a spot here in Melbourne and I feel comfortable,” Dylan says.
Dylan has made a confident transition into Senior football; playing five games in an emerging line-up. Joshua made his Senior debut against Diggers Rest and impressed.
Jonas has played five matches and has featured in the best in the previous two weeks. He may not be able to kick on both feet like his decorated uncle, Damien; but he showcases the run and dash that has been a trademark of his uncle for many years in the competition.