THE AFLW'S historic Indigenous Round has been locked in for round five, 2021 and all 14 clubs have unveiled their guernsey designs and have told the unique stories behind them.
Proceeds from the sale of 2021 AFLW Indigenous Round guernseys will go towards supporting AFL-run Indigenous programs to ensure all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples have the same access and opportunities to our game, from the grassroots level, via our pathways to the elite competitions.
Check out every club's guernsey for the AFLW's inaugural Indigenous Round below, with the images courtesy of each club.
Adelaide’s new AFLW clash guernsey tells the story of a shared journey, retold through the perspectives of two Aboriginal women.
Designed by renowned Aboriginal visual artist Elizabeth Close and Crows AFLW player Danielle Ponter, the Indigenous design will be proudly worn at all away games as well as during the inaugural AFLW Indigenous Round.
The Adelaide players are represented on the guernsey by the concentric circles and the rings, while the bold navy line is their journey, weaving in around and through the circles, connecting them on their journey together.
The dots that sit on top of the circles represent the many other people who support the players, including family, coaches, partners, colleagues, and support staff.
The dots in the background represent the wider clubs and players in the AFLW. While they are present, they do not distract or draw the players away from their path.
Brisbane's guernsey was designed by players Dakota Davidson, Ally Anderson and Courtney Hodder.
Davidson is from the Gunditjmarra mob in south west Victoria, on the outskirts of Warnabool. "My mob is aquaculture, the first tribe to design fishing mechanisms to catch and sell fish and eels, in particular the Murray cod," Davidson said. "The blue river displays my aquaculture and the water in which our fishing took place. Our totem, the black swan, sits on top of the water, remaining calm and always watching over the mob. This path also represents the journey I am on, discovery different stories and the history of my culture."
Anderson is a proud Ghungalu woman. "My totem 'the emu' comes from my dad's father," Anderson said. "The earthy colours along my path, represent the inland area of central Queensland, where my story begins. The river flowing through the land is the Dawson River. It runs through the town of Theodore, where my dad is from. I have spent many holidays in Theodore, swimming and playing in the Dawson River. It’s an important part of my story and my family’s identity."
Hodder is a proud Badimia and Wajuk woman. "I’m lucky enough that both my parents are Indigenous, and therefore have two totems to represent - the emu and the kangaroo," Hodder said. "However, the totem I have chosen for this guernsey is the turtle, which was passed on to me by my uncle at birth. He was an important part of my journey, so this is a special way me and my family are able to represent him."
Carlton's guernsey designer is 18-year-old Indigenous artist Ky-ya Nicholson-Ward.
The story behind it is the mother tree (symbolises women, wisdom knowledge and culture), the roots at the bottom represent our language and how even though trees are chopped they still have their roots in the ground and are still connected to the land (symbolising invasion and how we lost so much but we are still here).
The white blue and navy circles are seeds falling on the ground which represents growth and the next generation being taught culture.
The hands represent women and mothers with the baby hand in the middle.
The oval in the middle of the tree is a scar (scar tree) from when our ancestors would cut out sections of the tree for canoes and weapons. There are also possum footprints along the tree. Also there are footprints along the side to represent each of the player's journeys.
The six stars represent all the Indigenous players and how they all from different areas but are all connected. And bunjil on the back is our creator spirit which looks over and guides us. The circles on the top represent supporters and fans and community coming together.
Collingwood’s 2021 AFLW team will wear the same Indigenous guernsey that its AFL and netball programs wore last year.
The design was by Ross Morgan snr and his sons, which highlights the Yorta Yorta culture.
The story behind the design comes from the the Cummeragunja Walk Off, which was a protest by Aboriginal people at Cummeragunja Station. It is remembered as an act of strength and resilience.
Fremantle will once again wear the AFLW Indigenous jumper it wore in season 2020.
Using the chevrons and purple background as a basis of the design, the jumper includes a number of drawings that hold significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, with a particular focus on stories and lore on Indigenous women.
A descendant of the Stolen Generation, midfielder Jasmin Stewart played a key role in the planning and design of the jumper.
She had assistance from board member and senior Noongar woman Colleen Hayward, Noongar Elder and No.1 ticket holder Richard Walley and teammates Gemma Houghton, Kara Antonio and Ebony Antonio.
The jumper features tapping sticks in place of the chevrons and the club is represented by the sun at the base of the front of the jumper.
The seven icons around the disc allude to the story of the Seven Sisters and the walking tracks signify the journey of the seven language groups represented by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures of current and past Fremantle AFLW players.
At the top of the jumper is a hibiscus flower, which is known as the National Sorry Day Flower. As they have with their men’s jumpers, the Kimberley Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation have given Fremantle permission to use the flower in this jumper’s design.
Corrina Eccles is the artist of the Geelong AFLW Indigenous guernsey and is a Wadawurrung traditional owner. She has been heavily involved at the Cats for the last 15 years and it’s very fitting Corrina is designing the first Indigenous AFLW guernsey as her son ‘BJ’ designed the first Indigenous AFL guernsey for the club. Corrina is a member of the GFC Reconciliation Action Plan and been involved in all three RAPs the club has implemented.
The design represents a story of Wadawurrung country and incorporates a number of meaningful landmarks across the Barwon region. The design includes the sunsire, two teams coming together to play Marngrook, the Barwon River, the waves of the saltwater country and Bunjil the eagle. The back of the guernsey also features the word Djilang, the Wadawurrung word for Geelong.
Corrina Eccles said: "I hope the girls, when they run out, they connect to Wadawurrung country and the landscape. Let’s hope Bunjil is flying over as they’re playing to bring us good spirit."
The guernsey was designed by local Bundjalung/Yugambeh woman Christine Slabb and represents the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The predominantly blue guernsey symbolises the water which is an important pillar of the Gold Coast and northern New South Wales, joined by the sun which signifies people coming together with a cultural connection.
The Giants' AFLW guernsey was designed by Wiradjuri woman Leeanne Hunter, who specialises in contemporary Aboriginal art.
U shape in the centre circle: represents an aerial view of a person sitting, with the digging stick to represent a woman, the U shape is placed in the centre to depict Briana and the support networks who work behind the scenes to organise the AFL games and training for teams.
Inner circle: Black footprints depict the reserve team members.
Third and fourth inner circle: the female image for the (16) players on the field, all aiming for their goal and interconnected. The black and white colours are representative of women from all cultural backgrounds.
The pathway: Is the pathway created by the AFL for female players to play at a professional level. The Emu footprint is the totem of Codie Briggs and her family heritage from the Murray River in Victoria. The emu print is depicted walking together and role modelling as other female players seek to play in the AFLW.
The wave: Is representative of the Salt Water people from the Torres Strait and any other mainland Aboriginal person who is from Salt Water country. It doubles as the wave of women in the past who missed the opportunity to play AFLW at a professional level.
Melbourne’s jumper was designed by AFLW player, Krstel Petrevski, who hails from Halls Creek in WA’s Kimberley region. Krstel, is a talented young Indigenous player and fantastic artist.
FRONT OF JUMPER:
Three big circles (red section): The 3 big circles represents our Melbourne Demons Football Club community, the AFLW community and our support community so our families, friends, supporters, members and fans. This acknowledges and pays respects to everyone who’s a part of community and who’s belonging. There are 30 symbols around the circle, this represents each and every one of the 30 girls on our AFLW list. It’s really important to acknowledge and pay respect to my teammates and non-Indigenous players.
Dark red circles (top of jumper): This design represents people coming from all different walks of life, all different backgrounds/lifestyles and all coming together and going on the same journey together.
White boomerang: The boomerang represents the strength of our team and how strong our team connection and culture is together as a collective and as one. The design in the boomerang represents all our individuals' strength and personalities and how when we come together the formation of our team's strength and that we are stronger together.
Eagle: In the centre of the design I acknowledge and pay respect to the Wurundjeri people, past, present and emerging. The traditional custodians of the land on which Melbourne is built. Bunjil is the wedge tail eagle, the creator spirit of Wurundjeri people and the Kulin nation. Bunjil looks over us in the sky and guides us.
Large navy circles: The 11 circles and the design pattern around it tells the story of my great grandfather from my dad’s side of the family who was a Kija man from Purnululu (the bungles). The 11 circles represent the waterholes. He started his journey from Ord River Gorge and passed through all 11 waterholes until he reached the bungles. This is the journey of him walking our country.
Hand-prints: The two handprints represent myself (Kija/Jaru) and Aliesha Newman (Ningy Ningy), being the only two Indigenous women to have played for the Melbourne Football Club. On the hands is our tribe's name. Although Aliesha is no longer at the Demons (now at Collingwood), it's important to acknowledge and pay respect to her and the influence and impact she has had within the AFLW in the Indigenous space.
Footprints: The footprints on the front of the jersey represents the journey of being a part of the football club and program. It represents the journey and the growth of going through our program and learning and developing and leaving a better football player and person.
BACK OF JUMPER:
Blue circles: This design represents people coming from all different walks of life, all different backgrounds/lifestyles and all coming together and going on the same journey together.
Footprints: The footprints represent all the past players and players that have come through the Melbourne Football Club and have paved the pathway for us today.
The kangaroo paw flower represents the vibrant and resilient women who play for and support the North Melbourne Football Club. It’s a flower that comes in many different colours, shapes and sizes, perfectly representing the women of our community, the women who are past, present and future; the women who share a passion for this sport regardless of their nationality, colour and identity. This guernsey represents the truth that we are one and we are included.
The circles with hands represent the journey we travel, the family we leave back home and the friends we make along the way.
The boomerangs represent the men’s squad we currently play alongside - the fathers, brothers and guardians in our lives - who have encouraged us to become the strong women we are today.
The background of this guernsey is filled with things we need most in life - hands for support, shields for protection, symbols of our people, and the initials of two proud First Nations women you’ll be running alongside on game day.
The U shapes represent the women, men and children who proudly support this club, filling our stadiums, cheering until they’re voiceless and helping to carry the hurt when you endure your losses. Lastly, the kangaroo tracks are the pathways you leave behind, so that the next generation can fearlessly follow.
The Tigers guernsey was designed by Michelle Kerrin, who is a proud Arrernte and Luritja woman from the Northern Territory.
"This story is marked on the back of the Richmond women’s jumper and reflects my own story and the story of our community here at the club," Kerrin said.
"This is for our women – the symbols represent connection, Country and people in our communities. The woman’s symbol is placed close to our hearts. It’s for our staunch matriarch that lives on. Our elders, aunties, jija’s and children. For the women that pave the way and for those who are rising. It’s for every woman that steps on that field and represents something greater than ourselves. We are bold, we are powerful."
Michelle is currently working as the REAL Program Lead in the Korin Gamadji Insistute at the Richmond Football Club, continuing to develop culturally safe programs, leadership opportunities and initiatives for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The guernsey, which was designed by Emily Long (sister of Ben Long) and club graphic designer Megan Mitchell, represents the history of the Long family and the totems of their people.
The front of the guernsey represents the Long family’s paternal grandfather’s ancestors, the Anmatyere people, who come from Ti Tree, Northern Territory.
The three eggs and footprints symbolise the emu, totem of the Anmatyere people. The two watering holes represent the land that the emus frequent, connected by Twenty Mile Creek.
The shark represents the protector of the Tiwi Islands, where Jack Long was adopted by the Kerinaiua family, where they were born and still live to this day.
The back of the guernsey represents the Long family’s paternal grandmother’s ancestors, the Maranunggu people, who hail from Daly River, Northern Territory.
The feathers represent the White-Tailed Sea Eagle. The eagle is the protector, hunter and all-seeing totem of the Maranunggu people.
The artwork featured on the guernsey was hand-drawn by Emily Long and is a modern interpretation of traditional Indigenous artwork.
The 'Wings of an Eagle' guernsey was designed by Yamatji and Noongar man Darryl Bellotti.
Darryl is a relative of former Eagle Laurie Bellotti, who played 24 games for the club across two seasons (1999-2000).
"Song, dance and ceremony are an essential part of Aboriginal culture," according Darryl.
"It’s how we pay tribute to the land and spirit of our ancestors. Ceremonial dress features ochre and feathers, sometimes with a feathered headdress, on the dancer’s body. On the guernsey, feathered wings wrap around the player like a booka, a traditional kangaroo skin cloak. The white lines are song lines to the sacred ceremonial area. The three circles located in the ‘heart’ of the guernsey. The circles depict the coaching and playing group in the centre, support staff surrounding them, and the supporters around the outside. Patterns like this were drawn in the sand during ceremonies, similar to the white lines of a football field."
The Bulldogs' guernsey is called ‘Coming Together As One’ by Ky-Ya Nicholson-Ward, a Wurundjeri and Dja Dja Wurrung woman.
The white centre circle represents a goal in one’s life. The red outlined section flowing into the circle represents everyone’s unique journeys and struggles in life, focusing on the obstacles we have all had to face in 2020, but remaining strong mentally and physically to reach an aim.
The black circles represent knowledge and water, which symbolise new beginnings, fresh starts and over all life and health. Circles are a very significant art design in my culture as there is no beginning and no end, which is just like Aboriginal people and Aboriginal culture. It also represents the Maribyrnong River, which in my language means place of many possums.
The red stripe section includes emu footprints, as they represent no going back and only moving forward, as emus do not step back.
The white stripe section includes people’s footprints, which represents the players’ journeys into success and moving forward.
The white banners at the bottom represent strength and power, highlighting the success of the girls winning a Grand Final in 2018. The designs are used a lot in my ancestors’ shields and weapons and are used to show power. This relates to the strength of the players and women in general.
On the back there is a possum, which links to the Maribyrnong River and my people’s stories and culture. It is significant, as the possum is my totem. Along the back are also possum footprints - there are big ones to represent mothers, and little ones to represent babies and children, and how beautiful that connection is.