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BLK Sport proud to be part of the AFL’s Indigenous Round

When our six AFL clubs – The Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast Suns, Brisbane Lions, Adelaide Crows, GWS Giants and the Richmond Tigers - asked us to collaborate on designing the jerseys, BLK Sport recognised the great honour to be part of the process.

Not only does the Guernsey acknowledge the many players who have worn Indigenous colours, but allows us to pay homage to the traditional owners of the land when the teams run out to represent Australia’s first peoples.

Before 1788 Australia was populated only by the Indigenous people of Australia - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

In 1788 Aboriginal people inhabited the whole of Australia and Torres Strait Islanders lived on the islands between Australian and Papua New Guinea, in what is now called the Torres Strait. There were many different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities made up of people who spoke different languages with various cultural beliefs, practices and traditions.

Before 1788 there were approximately 700 languages spoken throughout Australia with an estimated population of 750 000 people. Today Indigenous people make up 2% of the entire Australian population (about 410 000 people). The number of Aboriginal people has changed since European settlement because of the effects of removal of people from traditional lands and the impact of cities and towns on populations.

THE ROUND

The AFL’s annual round recognising and celebrating indigenous players and culture has been renamed in 2016 to honour of Sir Doug Nicholls.

Sir Doug, who epitomised the spirit of reconciliation, played 54 games for Fitzroy and was a brilliant all-round athlete. The first Aboriginal person to be knighted, he also served as Governor of South Australia and was devoted to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

THE TEAM DESIGNS


- The Western Bulldogs


When the Western Bulldogs run out on to the MCG to face Collingwood in round 10, Koby Stevens will be brimming with pride for more than one reason.

In a season in which the rugged midfielder has displayed career-best form, the 24-year-old will wear a guernsey that holds special meaning to him.

The club will mark Sir Doug Nicholls Round with a new indigenous jumper, and Stevens is looking forward to celebrating the profound impact his people have had on the game.

The Bulldogs will also don the jumper in round 11 when they host West Coast at Etihad Stadium and the Dogs' women's team will wear it against Western Australia on June 5.

"It's always a good round every year to show some leadership in the indigenous community and to be able to wear a jumper I'm pretty proud of," Stevens told AFL.com.au.

"It's a great concept."

The Bulldogs guernsey was developed by a group of Ballarat indigenous artists named The Pitcha Makin Fellas, and it continues the strong ties the Bulldogs have with the regional city.

The figure in the centre of the guernsey, known as the Great Black Pointer, is pointing the way for all, giving direction and showing a path to follow.

Stevens and Joel Hamling, the only current Bulldogs with indigenous heritage, spent time with group during the design process.

"The jumper symbolises an elder statesman within the community showing leadership and good guidance to the younger people," Stevens said.

"It's a big thing within our community to show leadership to the younger people growing up."


- Gold Coast Suns

Thirteen past and present Indigenous players from the Gold Coast SUNS will be featured proudly on a commemorative Guernsey during this weekend's AFL’s Indigenous Round.

The special Indigenous jumper was designed by local Yugambeh man Luther Cora with the assistance of Jarrod Harbrow.

Produced by BLK, the 2015 guernsey features a prominent red background, a colour synonymous with the traditional owners of the land.

The artwork and colours on the side panels also represent the Torres Strait Islanders people.

On the back of the jumper the hands signify the thirteen past and present Indigenous players to represent the GC SUNS.

The names of Indigenous players Sean Lemmens, Jarrod Harbrow, Harley Bennell, Brandon Matera, Steven May, Timmy Sumner, Jack Martin, Jarrod Garlett, Roland Ah Chee, Liam Patrick, Nathan Krakouer, Rex Liddy and Callum Ah Chee will also be printed on the inside collar of the Guernsey.


- Brisbane Lions

You may notice that every circle on the jersey is connected by a path - this symbol represents a place, a community or a tribe. It means that we aren’t all from the same town, city or country and we have travelled both near and far to one destination…Brisbane.

This club, this city, this family is the one thing that connects all together.

The small “U” shaped symbols in each circle represent either a man or a woman. This is our community, the people who impact your lives daily, the ones who support you, who pick you up when you’re down, the people who you have lost and gained.

In the bottom left circle on the back of the Guernsey, is a group of women holding hands. These women represent the women of the pride. These are the ladies who come down and watch your training sessions religiously, the ones holding functions and gatherings to raise money and numbers for the Brisbane Lions football club. These women are mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, daughters and most importantly Partners who work tirelessly to support you.

The large hands on the front of the Guernsey represent friendship, sportsmanship and courage. Let them remind you to tackle each and every obstacle you may face front on and with both hands. The feet on the back of the Guernseys are to remind you that you have made it. You are walking in the footsteps of many great players before you and also leaving a path for someone to fulfil their dreams in the future.

The large yellow boomerang on front of the Guernsey is a symbol that represents a man, a fearless hunter and a provider. i have placed this over your heart to give you strength to fight for each and every win, to learn from the loses and to never give up.


- Richmond Tigers

The Richmond Football Club has unveiled its sixth Dreamtime guernsey, which highlights the Club’s past, present, and future players.

This year’s guernsey, which will be worn when the Tigers play Essendon in the annual ‘Dreamtime at the ‘G’ match in Round 10, was designed by 17-year-old Patricia McKean.

McKean is a Kirrae Whurrong woman from Warrnambool, who has been connected with the Club’s centre for Indigenous youth, the Korin Gamadji Institute (KGI), for the past three years.

During her time at the KGI, McKean emerged as a confident leader and was approached by Richmond to design the guernsey because of her passion for digital art.

The story of the guernsey aligns with Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2016 'Our history, our story, our future'.

This year’s guernsey is based on the Club’s yellow clash guernsey – the first time Richmond’s Dreamtime guernsey has been predominantly yellow in colour.

Minkgill - star in Kirrae Whurrong language - are the five dots surrounding a main dot used to represent our star players past, present and future.

The curved image between the Minkgills is like the river of life that flows through time from the beginning to the present, and into the future.


- GWS Giants

The GIANTS have released their 2016 Indigenous jumper, which will be worn in the round 10 match against the Crows in Adelaide.

It is the second year in a row that the team’s Indigenous jumper has been designed by Luke Penrith; a proud Aboriginal man with cultural ties to the Wiradjuri, Wotjobaluk, Yuin and Gumbaynggirr nations.

This year’s design is completely different to 2015 and reflects the growth in the GIANTS over the early years and the journey the club is on.

Penrith said he’s thrilled with how the jumper looks.

“I’m over the moon with the design, it’s very bright and very catchy. I recently shared it with Nathan Wilson and Zac Williams and they really enjoyed it.

“Those guys have been playing some good footy and are really looking forward to wearing it against Adelaide in a couple of weeks.”

The GIANTS have five indigenous players on their list: Zac Williams, Nathan Wilson, Jarrod Pickett, Paul Ahern and Jeremy Finlayson; and will wear the Indigenous jumper when they play Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday May 28.


- The Adelaide Crows

The Crows will wear a jumper designed by the aunt of Eddie Betts in Indigenous Round this year. Renowned Australian Aboriginal artist, Susie Betts, created the vibrant and culturally significant artwork for the jumper, which will be on show against Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval in Round 10.

The design features a crow in full flight on a navy blue base, surrounded by red, gold and white circles and dots. The jumper also features the ‘R’ RECOGNISE logo, which represents the Club’s ongoing commitment to Reconciliation in Australia.

Susie is the sister of Eddie’s father, Eddie Betts the second. Their family belongs to the Wirangu people, as well as the Kokata and Mirning communities on the far West Coast of South Australia.

In the Wirangu culture, the crow is called ‘Garnga’ and plays an important role spiritually as a messenger and healer.

“This design represents a culture that is thousands and thousands of years old. We’re sharing the story of the Garnga and what it means to us,” Susie said.

“We wanted to have the right elements in the design, so that it represents something very strong, not just for our family and our culture, but for the Crows, supporters and everyone else it effects.

“We have the crow or the Garnga in the centre. The circles and the dots are talking about the realm that the Garnga belong to spiritually. The swell down the bottom of the jumper is about the power and the magic that heals.

“It’s a very special design. It will be an empowering moment to see Eddie wearing the jumper and representing his family, his culture and his background.

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