“It’s been a fantastic response, it’s so positive and makes me very, very proud," says 19-year-old Kalkadoon woman, Chern'ee Sutton, the artist behind the Indigenous All Stars jersey.
“To see the players running out onto the field, and the spectators filling up the stadium wearing my designs and waving both the Aboriginal flag, and the Indigenous All Stars flags was a huge honour, and a humbling experience,” she told NITV.
The design titled, ‘Thapu Wani Watina’ in Kalkadoon language means, ‘Brothers playing side by side’.
“There’s 13 handprints around the outside representing the 13 players," she said.
One source of inspiration for the design was from Indigenous All Star Sam Thaiday's tattoo, "one brother bleeds, all brothers bleed," that he has scrawled along his chest.
She also drew inspiration from last years’ game and its spine-tingling war-cry, “the players invoked their ancestors spirit which rose up to give them strength, pride and courage as they took to the field”.
This is the second time Chern’ee has designed the jersey for the Indigenous side.
"The NRL held a jersey design competition and I was lucky enough to win, they had such a great response from the 2015 jersey that they commissioned me to design the 2016 jersey”.
Chern’ee first discovered her talent at 13, when she entered a competition and unexpectedly came first. After having trouble in school, she found art was her passion.
Dotted along this year's jersey is a flow of red stars depicting the journey of the many different nations making their way to Brisbane for the game.
The design also encapsulates two bright stars representing the Arthur Beetson Memorial Trophy, and future Indigenous bronzed immortals. The jersey, with 3D effect, also features a golden star to represent Preston Campbell as the founder of the All Stars concept.
It has received an overwhelming response on social media with many praising the design.
Despite her young age, Chern’ee’s artwork has been exhibited at the Australian Open, Queensland Parliament House, and in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.
Even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have one of her paintings.
"We discussed the importance of reconciliation and a united Australia", she says of her meeting with the Duchess of Cambridge at an invite-only function in 2014. Her painting now hangs in the royal collection at Buckingham Palace.
"I was so excited that I nearly forgot how to talk."
"Once I gained my composure we had a chat about my artwork, and she listened intently, she is even more beautiful in real life."
Her designs will be included in the Indigenous component of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup logo.
And in a first of its kind, Chern’ee has an exciting project lined up to create a new line of chocolates that will feature her designs.
Motivated by a commitment to reconciliation and a desire to share her culture, history and art with others, Chern’ee is helping to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
“I draw my inspiration from everything I see, it’s drawn from my Indigenous culture and heritage and sharing this with the rest of the world through my art. I strongly believe education is key to moving forward toward reconciliation”.