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By Danielle Smith
Indigenous Round is a highlight on the NRL calendar, and something that means so much to so many.
Let’s take a look at every club’s jersey for this year, as well as what they represent.
Created by Casey Coolwell-Fisher. Quandamooka – Nunukul, the jersey design is called ‘Shared Dreaming’. Coolwell-Fisher describes it as “spirit and soul returning to our people, land, sea and sky, in either animal or plant form.”
What makes this jersey design extra special for the Broncos is that two of their stars were part of the process. Kotoni Staggs, a proud Wiradjuri Man and Albert Kelly a proud Gumbaynggirr and Dunghutti Man, helped design the strip.
They should be very proud, it’s a great jersey.
Created by Kayannie Denigan, a Luritja woman, the jersey design is called ‘Enduring Connections’. Amongst all the amazing artwork, the jersey features totems to represent the indigenous players from the current Raiders team. The Lyre Bird (Adam Elliott), Goanna (Jack Wighton), Emu (Elijah Anderson, Xavier Savage), Wedgetail Eagle (Jamal Fogarty) and the Crocodile (Sebastian Kris).
It’s also wonderful that the NRL’s School to Work Program and the University of Canberra was able to work together with Denigan to help with the final product.
Beautifully designed and well put together.
undefinedNorth Queensland Cowboys
Created by Indigenous artist Margaret Mara, the jersey design is called “My Journey My Way”. In Mara’s own words the design ‘is a celebration of the journey we embark on from the moment we are born to the time we become the ancestors guiding our peoples.
I appreciate the simplicity of the jersey, and the pop of colour at the bottom finishes it off superbly.
The Bulldog’s jersey is based off a painting by Pam Brandy Hall. Pam is the granddaughter of the Aboriginal Activist, the late Jack Patten. The painting signifies tales from Gadigal land, which is also known as Sydney, specifically the part that runs along the Cooks River.
Brandy Hall explains, “The banks of the river were once used for important ceremonies and corroborees. The painting depicts the many pathways that lead to the meeting place or corroboree, in which Aboriginal people come together with their strong cultural pride and connection to country. They shared their different dialects and mutual appreciation for the land and water - this is the story of my country my people”.
The colours are perfect. Gorgeous layout.
The Eel’s jersey was designed by Sean Kinchela, a proud Gamilaroi and Wiradjuri Man, as well as Parramatta fan. Kinchela drew inspiration from the Burramattagal People, who settled at Parramatta.
“I take a lot of pride in sharing my culture, not only with my family and friends but also with non-Indigenous people all around the world.” Kinchela said.
I love this jersey. With the boomerang at the top and way the Eel has been incorporated into the design is just perfect.
undefinedSt George Illawarra Dragons
The Dragons held a competition for an artist to design their Indigenous Round Jersey. It was judged by the club's reconciliation action plan committee, staff, players, and local elders. Out of 22 amazing artists, Joanne Niki, a proud Torres Strait Islander, was announced the winner with her design called ‘Commitment’.
Niki explains, "The fiery colours in the background represent the fiery breath of the dragon and the passion the team put into the game and your contributions to community. You might note it is shaped to reflect the Illawarra and the land of the Dharawal country.”
The colours are wonderful, and I love the connection the design has to the local area.
After 45 applicants submitted their designs, an independent panel selected the artwork of Gerard Black, a proud Worimi man for the Knights Indigenous jersey.
The design, named ‘Birriwal Guwiyn’ means Strong Spirit in Gathang language, which is the traditional language of the Worimi people.
“It is my hope that when the players pull on the jersey, they will feel like they’re putting on a spiritual shield of pride, honour, respect and connection, and each player will feel this power and walk together knowing they are connected to the spirits of the land, sky and sea and the Creator Spirit Baiyami”, Black explained.
The intricate details on this jersey are just stunning.
The Panthers jersey creation was a joint effort from Natasha Fordham as well as Panthers Indigenous Welfare Officer Glen Liddiard.
The design represents all the men and women that are involved in Rugby League from the Darug Nation.
Throughout the artwork are different handprints, including those of Penrith players J'maine Hopgood (Gurang Gurang) and Chris Smith (Arrernte).
Another effortless and tasteful design.
undefinedGold Coast Titans
Kieran Chilcott, an Aboriginal man from the Yugarabul people, has designed the Titans Indigenous jersey for 2022. He has crafted a design that looks at the past as well as the future of the club, and all its indigenous connections.
It represents all 34 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander past and present and their 16 different tribal groups. The design also pays tribute to the 5 Indigenous captains the club has had.
This is a spectacular jersey. I love that it incorporates a representation of Preston and Jayden Campbell, as well as the Titan’s inclusion of the NRLW team.
undefinedSouth Sydney Rabbitohs
Uncle Joe Walker, a proud Wahlabul man, has designed the Souths jersey and it represents all the women in their lives, as well as Mother Earth.
A very classy design, and it’s great how the red and green of the club have been used to showcase different parts of the story. The artist explains,” The red colour on the jersey represents the blood in our veins and red earth we live on, and the green represents the natural beauties of our land. The red and green also represents the Rabbitohs and their connection to people right across our countries.”
This jersey has a real special meaning to the club, as it was in part designed by an Aboriginal non-profit group called Cultural Choice Association. The wonderful organisation is dedicated to reducing the heartbreaking youth suicide rates in Indigenous communities, but it is also an organisation founded by Roosters player and proud Gamilaroi man Connor Watson and his family.
The design is called ‘New Growth, New Hope’ and along with CAA, La Perouse based Aboriginal artist Jordan Ardler and the young men of Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre at Kariong on the Central Coast of NSW worked together to create the artwork.
undefinedManly Sea Eagles
The Manly Indigenous jersey emphasises the Club’s continued partnership with Poche Indigenous Health Network, and the bright colours represent their logo, and all the wonderful work that they do in the Indigenous community.
Some nice touches throughout the design, with the words ‘FAMILY’ and ‘RESPECT’ on the collars - two very important ideals for both Poche Indigenous Health Network and the Sea Eagles.
Really nice jersey. And it’s very cool that the player’s will have their surnames on the back for game day.
The Sharks have done it again, with another spectacular Indigenous Round Jersey.
The club have a wonderful partnership with Deadly Choices, an organisation that provides health and wellbeing education as well as management pathways to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Shire. Deadly choices put the club in touch with Ms Chambers-Hegarty who designed the jersey, drawing inspiration from the local area which is on the Land of the Gweagal People of the Dharawal Nation.
The design incorporates links to the Koa, Kuku Yalanji, and Barada Barna people, as well as a representation of the six Sharks senior indigenous players and their families.
The jersey design is called ‘Past Present and Future’.
It has different representations of many of the local areas that surround where the Tigers play their home games. It also embodies the history and unification of the club as well as where the club is headed.
On the back of the jersey, current Wests Tigers Indigenous players have been re[presented with special totems.
The colours of the club have been used perfectly, and the design is just beautiful.
undefinedNew Zealand Warriors
The Warriors jersey design is called Te Amokura, and the club have described it as ‘a powerful expression of our connection, unity and identity.’
Among many representations it shows the sacrifices that have been made over the past three seasons by those that have been away from home and based in Australia.
Developed in partnership with PUMA and Te Tairāwhiti based Tā Moko artists Maia Gibbs (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Kahungungu) and Henare Brooking (Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) of Toi Ake māori creative studio.
A strong and well-designed jersey.
Coree Thorpe, a proud Yorta Yorta, Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Wurundjeri man, designed Melbourne’s Indigenous Round Jersey. He is also a proud supporter of the team, and holds a Leadership and Community Development role at Dardi Munwurro,.
Thorpe used inspiration from the Rainbow Serpent. “I like to tell a story and Storm has an amazing story,” Coree explained.
“Like the snake, each year changes. It’s the shedding of people, players but the journey continues. It’s stronger, it learns, it heals and changes,” he said.
“You’ve got to understand where you’ve come from to know where you are going, and I think Storm do that very well.”
A beautifully crafted design.
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