Boyhood dream to Dreamtime at the G for Bombers recruit

Melissa Woods |

Jade Gresham (2nd left) is excited to represent his culture in the Dreamtime at the G game.
Jade Gresham (2nd left) is excited to represent his culture in the Dreamtime at the G game.

A boyhood dream is set to come true on Saturday with Indigenous Essendon recruit Jade Gresham playing in his first Dreamtime at the G clash with Richmond.

Gresham, who joined the Bombers from St Kilda, has been in the stands many times for the annual fixture, now in its 20th year, and even played at halftime as part of the Auskick mini-match.

But the 26-year-old forward, representing the Yorta Yorta, was excited to be part of the celebration of his culture on Saturday night at the MCG.

“The first one I came to I did a bit of Auskick in the middle so that was pretty cool as a young fella,” Gresham said on Monday.

“It’s a special game for Indigenous people … this is one of the reasons why you’d want to come to a club like Essendon, to play in this games and represent your culture.”

Another reason Gresham would be happy with his move from the struggling Saints to Essendon is his new side’s lofty ladder position, sitting second.

The Bombers haven’t lost since round four against Port Adelaide while their Dreamtime rivals Richmond are 17th with just one win for the season.

“Obviously the vibes are pretty high at the minute,” Gresham said.

“It’s a long season and the competition is so tight but we’re playing some consistent footy.

“Everyone is playing their role and buying in. We don’t really rely on one player each week, it’s a real team effort.”

Richmond star Daniel Rioli admitted it was tough going at the injury-ravaged Tigers, who suffered a 119-point belting by Brisbane last round.

Daniel Rioli
Daniel Rioli says he’s focused on helping the struggling Tigers. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

“It’s pretty disappointing and we don’t want to be in this position,” said Rioli, who along with Essendon great Michael Long helped launch the match.

“We’ve got a new game plan and new coaches and we can’t use that as an excuse, we need to be better on field as a playing group.

“We’ve got a game plan there to execute and we’ve just been a bit off.

“We had our review today about the Brisbane Lions (heavy loss) and we’ve pushed that aside and are focusing on Essendon and hopefully we can turn the tables.”

Rioli has been linked with a reunion with his former coach Damien Hardwick, now at Gold Coast.

The 27-year-old didn’t entirely dismiss the rumour but said he was contracted at the Tigers until 2027 and was focused on helping his team get back on track this season.

“Right now I’m just focusing on this team and trying to get these boys better,” Rioli said.

“I’m trying to play happy footy … all I’m focusing on is this year and getting this team to where we want to go.

“This is a special round and I’m not here to talk about my future.”