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NRL Indigenous Round jerseys

All 16 NRL clubs will be playing in new jerseys this week as the league celebrates Indigenous Round.

Brisbane Broncos

Designer: Joe Malone/Deadly Choices

Inspiration/Story: The artwork was developed in conjunction with Deadly Choices, a proud partner of the NRMA Insurance Brisbane Broncos. 

This artwork tells several stories about the Broncos using Aboriginal art. The 6 circles in the centre represent the six years that the Broncos have won a premiership in 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2006. The 13 symbols for Men symbolises that rugby league is a 13 a side game and 13 symbols for Women acknowledge the female contribution to rugby league.

The six shields signify the six premiership trophies that the Broncos have won and the spirit figures holding the shields depicts coach Wayne Bennett who is the spiritual leader of the club and the only person involved in all six Premierships.

The rest of the artwork describes the Broncos connection to the community - the circles on the outer of the painting indicate a small representation of the numerous junior clubs and schools that have benefited from Broncos coaching clinics, programs such as “Beyond the Broncos” and also recognises the community work they undertake as well as the partnership with Deadly Choices to encourage and promote better and healthier lifestyle choices for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, utilising all of the Aboriginal Medical Services clinics right across South East Queensland.

Footprints and the straight white lines that connect the circles exemplify the travel done throughout the community to deliver these services.    

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Designer: Aboriginal Girls Group, Chifley College Mount Druitt Campus

Inspiration/Story: An important part of our culture is story-telling. The traditions and business of our culture have always been shared through stories. Usually these stories are spoken, but art has also traditionally been used to share the stories of our people.

We felt it was important that our jersey design appealed to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous supporters alike, so we made sure our design used traditional symbols and techniques to retell the proud history of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

Our design started with brainstorming the history of the club, including: the Bulldogs’ 8 premierships, playing in the NRL competition for 82 years, going from the Berries to the Bulldogs in the late 70’s and the domination of the Bulldogs in the 80’s.

We included all of these important parts of the Bulldogs’ story in the jersey design. The Aboriginal man represents the Aboriginal people that have played in the team. The boomerangs in his hand tell the story of the bulldogs being a strong team and that they are always fighting back for a win.

The dog prints and human prints walking together side by side represents the players and supporters entering the stadium as men, then all coming together to be Bulldogs.

There are eight meeting places on the jersey. These show the bulldogs community coming together to watch the Bulldogs win 8 grand finals.

There are 82 dots that represent how many years the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have been in the NRL competition.

The type of blue we chose to use in the bottom pattern and meeting places was inspired by the blue of the Bulldogs. The use of black, red and yellow in the design reflects the Aboriginal Flag. The green, together with white and blue reflect the colours of the Torres Straight Island flag. 

Canberra Raiders

Designer: Dale Robert Huddleston (Gugan Gulwan) 

Inspiration/Story: Artwork inspiration on the Raiders 2017 Indigenous Jersey represents Bogong Moth infestation which occurs annually, September-November,  in the Brindabella Mountains. Surrounding tribes of the region came together to feed on the moth.   

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Designer: Aunty Deanna Schreiber, Sutherland Shire Elder

Inspiration/Story: The word Cronulla originates from the word KURRANULLA which the first white settlers could not pronounce properly and termed the area Cronulla. Kurranulla actually means a place of ‘pink sea shells’ hence the name. The local totem for Kurranulla is the whale which formed to the area with the Sharks on ‘Shark Island’ just south of South Cronulla Beach.

Gold Coast Titans

Designer: Preston Campbell

Inspiration/Story: Preston Campbell: “Indigenous Australian culture is diverse and varies from one nation to the next. There are similarities and differences within Indigenous nations of Australia, as well as around the world, one thing we all have in common is our understanding of ‘Connection’. Connection with nature, each other and the world around us. Our values and beliefs are what connects us as individuals, family groups and wider communities. Our Connection with culture is constantly evolving and shaping our identity in the modern world. In order to survive, we need to understand the land we walk on, the plants and animals that live amongst us and the relationship we have with other, which must be based on respect.”

The many circles represent communities or tribes and the connection that we have with each other. With the Gold Coast being situated so close to the New South Wales border we have a connection with players, members and fans from both states. On one side, there is a strip of blue representing New South Wales and on the opposing side there is a strip of maroon representing Queensland. This signifies players, members and fans from differing places coming together as one. 

When painting this piece of artwork for the Gold Coast Titans Indigenous jersey, Preston reflected on the great game of Rugby League and how it can bring so many people together. 

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

Designer: Doris Glasson

Inspiration/Story: “When I think of Manly I see a beautiful beach. The Blue represents the waves of this iconic beach and the small bone dots the warm sand. The circles with dots represent the communities that proudly define the northern beaches, with the ‘U’ shapes representing the people that make up those communities. Paths make their way to a maroon circle featuring the Sea Eagles logo, which represents Brookvale Oval, Manly’s spiritual gathering place.” 

Melbourne Storm

Designer: Dixon Patten

Inspiration/Story: The Logo - The logo in the middle is about opportunity, relationships and respect. It’s about a world that has three hands and three lightning bolts. The hands represent respect for one another and the opportunities we are handed in our lives. The Storm bolts represent our relationships and the strong links to our community and cultural respect. The image represents power and determination to push through to reach our goals, to trust, to feel safe and fulfilled with positive connections.

The Art work –  The logo in the middle represents the Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club. The outer circles are the broader Indigenous communities that Melbourne Storm are reaching through its various programs. The white lines represent each individuals path. The fours colours represent the four seasons, representing diversity and change. The shields represent strength and resilience. The Yarra river flows past AAMI Park, home of the Storm, the ‘Birrarung’ has been a meeting point and lifeline for local aboriginal people for a millennia. Water represents life and as it flows through the ‘Melbourne Storm Community’, it becomes much larger, which portrays the quality of life improving. 

Newcastle Knights

Designer:  Dane Gagai and Jaelen Feeney

Inspiration/Story: The jersey design is a representation of three cultures coming together. 

The front of the jersey combines Torres Trait Islander and Indigenous designs whilst incorporating Jaelen and Dane’s respective totems – Dane’s being the shovel nose shark and Jaelen’s being the goanna. The turtle on the front of the jersey also represents the Torres Strait Islander people and is a significant part of their culture. 

The jersey incorporates the Southern Cross and the Commonwealth Star into the front of the design which represents the coming together of the three cultures. 

The back of the jersey embodies six significant meeting places which represent the six surrounding Aboriginal land councils in the Newcastle area. The meeting place on the front of the jersey represents Jaelen’s mob. 

The right shoulder of the jersey features the ‘Dhari’ which is the traditional headdress of the Torres Strait Islander people, symbolising the identity and unity of all Torres Strait Islanders.

The back of the jersey is an interpretation of the Aboriginal flag, with the yellow numbers signifying the sun.  


North Queensland Cowboys

Designer: Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander artist Albert Bosen

Inspiration/Story: The artwork represents both Indigenous identities; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island descendants. It depicts our relationship and connection to the country through the sea, wind, rivers and the ground we walk on. It is sacred like the creatures of our land; it gives us inspiration and strength to continue living on country with pride. 

Parramatta Eels

Designer: Daren Dunn

Inspiration/Story: This jersey celebrates and pays respect to the traditional owners of Parramatta and their deep and rich ancient heritage. The area of Parramatta was known by the Darug people as Burramatta ("Burra" meaning eel and "matta" meaning creek).

The side panels of the jersey represent a welcome dance by the local Aboriginal people to celebrate and acknowledge the "Indigenous Round" with all the cultural groups of Australia with the Parramatta Eels, to celebrate our Cultures as one. It's called the "Shake A Leg" Dance.

The back of jersey represents significant ceremonial sites and meeting places within "Burramatta" especially those most sacred sites to the eastern side near Duck River, Homebush Bay and Parramatta Park.

The front of the jersey celebrates and acknowledges the Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal women of today, the past and the future. We pay respect to our Women in our families and communities who lead and support us everyday.

The Eel: "Eel Dreaming" is an important part of our Aboriginal Culture in this region and is our connection to our Aboriginal Ancestors who look over us and the land everyday. This is the Ancestral Spirit of the Parramatta jersey. 

Penrith Panthers

Designer: Glenn Liddiard

Inspiration/Story: I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land we are on – the Darug Nation. From the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains, to Wiseman’s Ferry in the North, through to Camden in the South, this area was known as ‘Darug Land’ before settlement.

This land has inspired the design for the Panthers 2017 Indigenous jersey. 

On the front of the jersey, you can see the Three Sisters and the meeting and ceremonial places used by the people of the land.

This overlooks the Nepean River, which provided a plentiful hunting ground, and made up a big part of the Darug People’s lives. 

On the back of the jersey is Pepper Stadium, surrounded by all the other tribes that come together to celebrate our team, which has become ritual during Indigenous Round every year. 

This jersey represents the Darug people – a land that has more Indigenous people living in the area than any other in the country. 

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Designer: Joe Walker

Inspiration/Story: The Rabbitohs’ Indigenous players are represented by their totems on this jersey.

The totems are all connected together by a red and green link, symbolising unity amongst the players.

The totems are also linked back to the rabbit, symbolising the players’ strong links with the Club.

The players were involved in selecting the final artwork. They decided on the above story to be told through the totems and the rabbit.

St George Illawarra Dragons

Designer: Lani Balzan

Inspiration/Story: • The Feather – represents wisdom, respect and higher plain

• The Whale – One of the main totems: represents strength and wisdom

• The Serpent/Snake – One of the main totems: represents importance of life

• Hand print – significance of the artwork and reconciliation

• Sternum piece – representation of ancestors and spirit dreaming

•  Circle above the snake – connection to country 

Sydney Roosters

Designer: Jordan Ardler

Inspiration/Story: The jersey represents and acknowledges the local Eastern Suburbs region, as well as incorporating the totems of the five Sydney Roosters Indigenous players.

The Goanna represents Blake Ferguson and Connor Watson from the Wiradjuri Nation, the Shark represents Latrell Mitchell from the Biripi Nation and Lightning and Thunder represents Chris Smith and his Northern Territory family tribe.

The Whale represents up-and-coming Rooster Grant Garvey and the Sydney Roosters of the Eora Nation.

The surrounding patterns and designs are symbolic of the salt-water Aboriginal communities placed upon the South-Eastern coastline.

Each symbol echoes imagery from the ocean, forming a protective barrier around the totems of the players positioned in the centre.

The symbols reflect ripples in the water and erosions in the sand. The design not only highlight the coastal Aboriginal communities but also represent the iconic image of Bondi, the home of the Sydney Roosters. 


Designer: Dave Burke

Inspiration/Story: While the Warriors will not feature an Indigenous Jersey they have incorporated Indigenous designs into both their home and away jerseys for 2017. 

The Warriors 2017 Away Jersey - Koru Design
The koru in this design is all about growth. The koru shape symbolises the early stages of a new unfurling fern frond. As the koru grows - it grows stronger and stronger as it reaches upward toward the light. The koru also represents nurturing, care, and protection. It also symbolizes peace, positive change, personal growth and hope for the future.  It embodies one’s spirituality, working together in harmony. 

Wests Tigers

Designer: Dennis Golding

Inspiration/Story: The design used in the 2017 NRL Wests Tigers Indigenous Jersey is from an original artwork that highlights unity, strength and presence. The artwork represents the traditional lands in which the club was based from the western and inner-western suburbs of Sydney. Along the paths that form across the lands of the Tharawal and Gadigal language groups, there are continuous circles (like a ripple effect) that represent the club players’ movements in which they unite as one to expand their knowledge, strengthen their skills; and develop a greater sense of culture and identity.


Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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