It’s that time of year in the NRL season again, the anticipated Indigenous Round.
With the NRL committed to greater promotions and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the game, we see a key example in action with their Indigenous Round.
The Round highlights the significant contribution that Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people make to Rugby League both on and off the field.
The 16 Clubs all celebrate with different jerseys donning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designs and illustrations, with Maori culture is represented also.
Each design tells a different story, so let’s take a look at what's being told this year.
Created by renowned artist Charlie Chambers, the design is titled Yarning Circle and features the Broncos logo in the centre with the Brisbane River or 'Maiwar' behind it. The design depicts communities being drawn together to improve the health of their people, supported by the Broncos Deadly Choices partnership.
Adapted from Elle Binge’s artwork titled Culture, Canberra's jersey represents meeting places through circles in the centre. Current Raiders players of both, Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds are represented through the handprints to show unity and collaboration.
Designed by a large group of students in the local community through contributions from local Elders in the Canterbury-Bankstown area, the storyline of the Bulldog's jersey depicts the 'warrior man' who shows strength, resistance and courage of the team's Aboriginal players; past, present and future.
Designed by Aunty Deanna a local Cronulla elder, the three club colours represent the southern waters and the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people living in the area. The jersey also includes footprints which show the community living off Cronulla beach.
Gold Coast Titans
Designed by Preston Campbell, the Titans jersey theme is 'representation', aiming to represent "who you are" and "where you come from". It encourages players to represent not only their team, but their family and themselves with decency and respect.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Through a collection of different circles, Jakeob Watson's design represents the Sea Eagles, as well as the 15 other clubs. It tells the story of the playing group comes together as one. It also represents the supporters of the club, as well as the player’s families, partners and children.
With the motif in the centre meaning relationships and respect, the various Indigenous communities are represented through the surrounding circles. The water of the Yarra river flows past AAMi park (home of the Storm) and brings life as it flows through the club.
To cover all eras of Newcastle’s rich indigenous history, the 2018 jersey was designed in collaboration by former and current star players Ashley Gordon, Owen Craigie, Timana Tahu and Connor Watson. Each player contributed a piece of their family history (their totem) to local artist, Elise Randell.
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors' jersey pays homage to the club’s homeland, Aotearoa, also known as 'the Land of the Long White Cloud', through the different ferns. With a Maori warrior to show the strong attack of the team and mist behind him as a connector to the ancestors, earth mother and sky father.
North Queensland Cowboys
Aboriginal and artist Luke Duffy's jersey tells the story of where the reef meets the land. The circles represent the community from all areas of the region, coming together to support the Cowboys.
Created by Elle Binge Harrison, the 2018 Eels Jersey is titled Where The Eel Lies Down. The Burramattagal people have a close connection with the Parramatta river, and the design tells the story of 'the first meeting place' being Sydney Harbour (the start of the river) and down to Parramatta, the second meeting place.
The Panthers' jersey is an artistic tribute to the Indigenous history, geography and culture of Penrith area. Designed by past player Glen Liddard, the jersey features the totems of the regions on the chest.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
South Sydney resident, Dennis Golding celebrates the club’s long history of Indigenous players and their contribution to the sport through his jersey design. Through representations of meeting places, cultures and local communities, the jersey allows all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to share stories and understandings about the Aboriginal custodianship of this country.
St. George Illawarra Dragons
Through collaboration by three local artists, Lani Balzan, Keiran Campbell and Koori Minto, St George's design includes representation of the land, the bringing together of a harmonious community and the three Indigenous players currently in the playing squad.
The niece of Rooster’s legend Arthur Beetson, Bianca Beetson designed the 2018 Roosters Indigenous Jersey. The people of the Sunshine Coast are represented by totems of the Kabi Kabi people which include the Bunya Pine and the native bee.
Designed by Vicki Golding, the jersey uses dots and pathway lines to highlight the connection that brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together to share stories as one.
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