FORMER Riverina man Tony Armstrong has gained high praise for winning a Logie and being the first to give a Welcome to Country at the national television awards ceremony.
Co-presenting the Most Outstanding Sports Program Award alongside Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott on Sunday night, Armstrong lulled the crowd to acknowledge the Gold Coast's Traditional Owners, the Yugambeh People, before presenting the award.
Some critics jumped online to complain about what they saw as "virtue signalling".
"I'm a blackfulla and I am duty bound to respect the land I'm on," Armstrong responded.
A Wiradjuri community leader, Ruth Davys praised Armstrong for using the platform to give a Welcome to Country.
"We are on First Nations land and we should be increasingly acknowledging that," she said.
"The younger generation is starting to look at things differently."
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Armstrong, 32, who is the ABC News Breakfast's sports presenter, later took out the Graham Kennedy Award for Best New Talent.
Armstrong thanked his mother in his speech: "She's a superstar, she's done everything for me. I wouldn't be up here without her."
A former Murray High School student at Lavington, Armstrong became a co-host for Yokayi Footy on NITV in March 2020.
He previously played for Adelaide, Sydney and Collingwood in the AFL.
Murray High School agriculture teacher Maurice Woodman was thrilled Armstrong was going ahead by "leaps and bounds" in his career.
"He was a very quiet, unassuming and respectful kid," he said.
"He was in a successful school cricket team and had sporting prowess early on."
Mr Woodman said the Logie capped his successful transition to media from sport.
"It's well deserved; the school is very proud of him," Mr Woodman said.
Armstrong was added to Murray High School foyer's Wall of Honour last year.
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