Arguably one of the most anticipated rounds of the year is almost here, the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous round for 2020. The first game kicks off on Friday night with the Gold Coast Suns taking on Carlton Football Club at Darwin’s TIO stadium. A highlight of the round is the launch of the leagues Indigenous guernseys, let’s check them out.
Adelaide Football Club
Designed by former Crow’s listed player Eddie Hocking and artist Shane “Mankitya” Cook.
“The hand print in the middle is mine” said Hocking, the club’s first Indigenous player.
“The playing group is represented around the chest of the crow, and down the bottom, with the families and people congregating at Adelaide Oval."
Richmond Football Club
Designed by 21-year-old premiership winning Tiger, Shai Bolton with the help of his Mother, Kylie Pickett and Nannas' Beverley and Lynley Pickett. A Noongar man from Western Australia, Bolton said the sash represents the club, the footprints are for the Tiger’s five Indigenous players and the boomerangs marking each of their unique connections to Country. The campfires and circles seen on both sides of the design show different meeting places with the stars indicating the journey the players have made to get to the first grade.
Essendon Football Club
This year’s guernsey has been created by possibly the youngest artist yet with year 12 student, Timaya Cunningham from Xavier Catholic College at Wurrumiyanga, NT, designing the artwork. Cunningham said the design is proudly Tiwi and shows off Tiwi culture, community and knowledge,
“The circle design is a Milimika circle. In a Milimika circle, everyone is equal. When Tiwi people from different clan groups sit in a Milimika circle, everyone’s voice is heard and considered,” Ms Cunningham said.
“The design in the sash represents a journey of knowledge. The dot pattern shows movement across the land and the lines represent the Purrintjirti; a message stick.
“By putting the two patterns together, I wanted to show how Tiwi people share knowledge over a long journey through life.”
Carlton Football Club
In consultation with the Navy Blue’s six Aboriginal players, Kaurna/Ngarrinjeri/Narrunga man, Tony Wilson designed this year’s guernsey around the theme of positive role models and the impact they have on the community. Mr Wilson said the ripples that run down the back of the guernsey pay tribute to the club’s past and future players, the club’s staff and of course the Carlton members and supporters who are the lifeblood of the club.
Blues CEO Cain Liddle said the club was proud to wear a guernsey for Sir Doug Nicholls Round that holds such significance.
“It was important we acknowledged our six Indigenous players as well as every other player, coach staff member and especially our members and supporters. Sir Doug Nicholls Round is not just important to our Indigenous players, it is important to every Carlton person and we think this year’s guernsey is symbolic of that,” he said.
Collingwood Football Club
Created by Yorta Yorta Man, Ross Morgan Senior and his sons. This year’s Indigenous round design tells the story of the 1939 Cummeragunja walk off in protest of the conditions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were forced to live under at the time.
"The Cummeragunja walk off is remembered as well as the journey, strength and resilience of our ancestors and now elders," said Morgan.
The diamonds down the centre represents the strength of Ancestors and Elders and the white colour represents the support of those from the non-Indigenous community. The symbol in the top right corner represents the meeting place where members of the community gathered before staging the walk off.
Melbourne Football Club
Designed by 30-year-old Demon's player Neville Jetta to showcase connection.
"Art has been a big part of my family, growing up, I used to be able to walk home from school and walk into my family’s house and see people painting – painting their story and stories that have been passed down to them. The dots symbolise the ongoing connection with the lands and skies of our country while the connected lines display our songlines, pathways and shows that we are always protected.
“The language groups written on the bottom half of the jumper show that although we are one people, we are also many” Jetta said.
North Melbourne Football Club
Titled ‘Never Surrender’ was created by Gunmok artist, Lorraine Kabbindi White. The foreground of the Kangaroos guernsey shows the totems of the clubs four Indigenous players, Jed Anderson (Honey Ant), Paul Ahern (Lizard), Jy Simpkin (Turtle), Kyron Hayden (Salt Water) and Tarryn Thomas (Goanna & Emu).
The background symbolises the coming together of freshwater and saltwater Countries.
Sydney Swans Football Club
The 2018 Swans guernsey designed by south-coast artist, Cheryl Davison returns in 2020. The emblem on the front lower half depicts the creation story of the black swan Guunyu.
Greater Western Sydney Football Club
Released in 2019 the Giant’s guernsey features the artwork of Wiradjuri artist Leeane Hunter. Titled, ‘Football Dreaming’ the guernsey features two boomerangs which acknowledge the importance of Indigenous culture, pride and Aboriginality. The flying boomerangs also reflects the game and the constant movement of life.
Brisbane Lions Football Club
The creation of Lion’s Midfielder, Allen Christensen, this year’s guernsey represents the totems of each of the club’s Indigenous players. A flying fox, emu, shark and lizard all feature in the design, alongside the Lion’s emblem. Christensen said the dots illustrate the coming together of different cultures at the club.
“None of the lines are symmetrical and that illustrates that not every journey is the same, but we are all in the same place as one mob,” he said.
“The guernsey has been designed to represent the current Indigenous players of the Club. This year has been like no other, so to be able to create a design that represents us Indigenous players for 2020 has been an honour,’’ he said.
Gold Coast Football Club
Created by local Yugambeh artist, Luther Cora, the guernsey features the names of all current and past Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players. The sun in the centre represents people coming together.
St Kilda Football Club
This year’s design has been inspired by Forward, Mathew Parker and his Noonga/Yuet family from the Ballardong region. The goanna represents his family totem while the spear symbolises strength. Mathew Parker said this is” my journey for you.”
Hawthorn Football Club
Created by school design competition winner, Justine Ronberg, a Nyarininyin, Pitjantjantjara and Yankunytjatjara woman. Hawthorn's Indigenous player group selected the work, Midfielder and goal sneak Chad Wingard said there were some great designs submitted “but with Justine’s, we read the story and, alongside the actual design itself, we believe that it resonated with the playing group and where we’re at. We also loved how it described our story as Indigenous men and the support we have around us. The design weaves together the story of the journey the player take to join the AFL and the support they have of family, fans and members.
Western Bulldogs Football Club
First seen in 2019, the Bulldogs guernsey is the work of artist Nathan Patterson. The Wagiman artist from the top end of the Northern Territory tells the story of former player, Brett Goodes through the symbols representing family and culture.
Geelong Football Club
Another player designed guernsey, this one comes from 22-year-old young gun Quinton Narkle. The 2019 design represents several stories, the story of the Wadawurrung people from the Geelong region, the totems of each of the club’s Indigenous player group and the story of Geelong champion, Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer.
Port Adelaide Football Club
A fresh design for 2020 by local Kaurna Custodian, Karl “Winda” Telfer. Port Power’s guernsey is adorned by boomerangs inscribed with the names of current and former Indigenous players. Telfer said he wanted the guernsey to tell the stories of old and new in regard to Aboriginal relations.
“There has always been an understanding and respectful relations between our peoples, especially in the Port Adelaide area. So, this design I have done will hopefully retell the stories of old and open up new conversations and connections and further deepen respectful relationships for our peoples, cultures and our game.”
Mr Telfer added “I have drawn inspiration from 1891 to present day to bring the living culture and history together with strength, respect and pride for all the achievements and contributions our first nations Aboriginal people have made and continue to do so.”
Freemantle Football Club
The creation of former Docker, Antoni Grover and his sisters, Nicole and Alicia King. Grover said the symbols represent his family.
“Nicole has a real talent, she’s the artist out of the three of us. We came together several times to brainstorm ideas to come up with a theme and how we can link it back to our family and show what it means to us to have an opportunity to design something that’s etched in history now. We were a bit nervous and we wanted to get it right. No matter what anyone’s opinion is of the jumper, we’re really proud of the work that we’ve done.” He said.
West Coast Eagles Football Club
The 2019 work of Western Australian artist Darryl Belotti is titled 'Wings of an Eagle'. The centre circles represent the players, supporters and staff.
“It’s about being strong and growing up through ceremony and it’s in line with a traditional kangaroo skin cloak that the old people would wear but it also draws synergies with ceremonial body art and when we would attach feathers to our ceremonial garb” Belottie said.