Photos: FreoDockers/Twitter, AFL Photos, NorthMelbourneFC, GWSGiants/Twitter, MelbourneFC/Twitter, PortAdelaide/Twitter Design: Will Cuckson

With the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Rounds ready to take the competition by storm once again, The Inner Sanctum takes a look at what your club is wearing for the upcoming fortnight.

Adelaide Crows

For the second year running, Adelaide’s AFL, SANFL, and AFLW sides will all share the same Indigenous Guernsey design.

The guernsey has been designed by Anmatyerr educator and artist April Napangardi Campbell from the Ti Tree community in the Northern Territory.

Campbell’s design centres on connection as one club, inclusive of all Crows players, staff, members, fans and communities. It aims to create a sense of belonging, strength and community while celebrating current and past Indigenous players.

Brisbane Lions

Painted by Kevin Bynder, Brisbane’s design represents the stories of each player and their families, the guernsey itself is a tale of two halves, which is signified by the initials DJH (Des James Headland) on the left side and CHM (Cliff Henry McGrath) on the right side.

The curved U symbol used widely across Indigenous art and seen throughout the guernsey design, symbolises a person – depicting a birds-eye view of the shape left in the ground after a human has sat crossed-legged.

The circle and dot shapes surrounding both the Swan River and Brisbane River represent the Whajuk Noongar people and the communities apart of Turrbal nation respectively. The top left of the painting illustrates the song lines, which represent the pathways of the Fitzroy Football Club and Brisbane Bears Football Club before merging to become the Brisbane Lions.

Carlton Blues

Carlton’s guernsey reflects traditional Tiwi culture representing the Kulama Ceremony, Pamajini (arm bands) and spear and has been designed by proud Tiwi woman Russellina ‘Russy’ Puruntatameri.

The circular shapes on the guernsey represent the ceremonial dancing ground, an important ceremony in the Tiwi community that symbolises good health, hunting and initiation.

For the first time, Carlton’s AFL & AFLW sides will both wear the same design.

Collingwood Magpies

Designed by Djab Wurrong and Kirrae Wurrong artist Tarni Jarvis, Collingwood’s guernsey will be worn by the club’s AFL side with the design also being utilised on the dresses of the Suncorp Super Netball team.

The design tells the story of the many individuals and groups that make up the Collingwood Football Club.

The design features circles within the black stripes on the guernsey. Each circle is unique and represents the people, and their stories, that make up the Club. Crosshatching is a commonly used technique within Aboriginal artwork in the southwest region of Victoria and is used to create the white stripes of the jumper.

Essendon Bombers

Ahead of the 19th annual Dreamtime contest, Essendon is set to wear a jumper designed by two students from the Thornbury Primary School, with Waa the Crow as the central focus.

Waa is one of the moiety totems for the Wurundjeri Woiwurrung people of the Eastern Kulin nation and is the protector spirit.

The crow’s open wings create the sash on the guernsey, with circles in the background representing the connection between teammates, coaches and staff.

Along the bottom of the guernsey are people standing arm in arm, further representing how people from all different backgrounds have come together to make the Essendon Football Club what it is today.

Walyalup Dockers

Walyalup’s jumper is designed by Carly Grey in collaboration with captain Alex Pearce. Pearce and Grey are close friends who hail from palawa country, and the jumper tells the story of Pearce’s journey from Tasmania to Noongar country.

The guernsey is broken up into five different sections including the Chevrons, Yarning Circle, Lutruwita, the journey from Palawa to Noongar Island, and the National Sorry Day Flower.

Geelong Cats

Geelong’s 2023 design is by Indigenous artist Michelle Searle who lives in Geelong. The guernsey, which is labelled Strength Through Unity is broken down into four design elements.

The centre represents coming together, sharing, bringing of different elements like food, knowledge, different experiences and learning from one another.

Lower design elements explain our different journeys and different pathways through life. Everybody has a different journey, and everybody can take different twists and turns and learn from one another.

The stars represent meeting under one sky with everybody coming together and sharing the land.

The bands going across the middle are waves of emotions but also waves of support that symbolise the fact that we should wrap ourselves around one another to support each other across the journey.

Gold Coast Suns

Gold Coast’s 2023 jumpers are designed by Suns defender and Indigenous artist Jy Farrar, with the idea behind the design being designed as a collaboration by the members of the Gold Coast community.

The centrepiece of the design represents the club. Surrounding this is the club’s dedicated members and supporters watching on with the stick shapes representing the goalposts at Heritage Bank Stadium.

The crocodile directly represents the Northern Territory and the Suns’ players who have a direct connection with its lands and waterways. Meanwhile, the eagle, which represents the Gold Coast, is a totem to some of the traditional custodians of the land.

The names of Indigenous Gold Coast players past and present are also included on the back of the guernseys, as featured in previous editions.

Greater Western Sydney Giants

Greater Western Sydney’s design, Ngurra, was designed by Aboriginal artist Leeanne Hunter, who also designed the season seven AFLW Indigenous guernsey. Ngurra means country and connection in Darug language, which is the native tongue of the lands of Western Sydney.

In the design, Hunter has reflected the clubs home ground being on freshwater country, with the broader geographical region of Western Sydney surrounded by rivers and bushland.

The rivers are depicted by the flowing white lines on the border with the small round circles that connect them reflecting the suburbs and communities who live in those surrounding areas.

The large round orange circles on the front represent the areas that the players come from to come together at the Giants and play football as a team. The footprints represent the impact of the Giants’ footsteps in Western Sydney.

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Hawthorn Hawks

Hawthorn’s jumper was designed by proud Wagiman man and Indigenous artist Nathan Patterson with the inspiration coming from Hawthorn player Jarman Impey.

The design is a representation of the Hawthorn family and is inclusive of those who pull on the guernsey to play and those who cheer from far and wide.

The Hawk shows pride and strength in the protection of our people and the land on which the club play and cheer.

The many meeting places lead to the home ground where we can come together as one to share in the pride and passion the family has for the brown and gold.

Naarm Demons

Proud Nyul Nyul Saltwater man, and Aboriginal artist Lowell Hunter is the designer of Melbourne’s 2023 Indigenous guernseys.

The design centres around a fire featured in the middle of the jumper, which Hunter said emphasised the significance of storytelling among First Nations culture.

At the top and bottom of the jumper is the sun, a piece of the artwork that reminds fans of the importance of moving towards a reconciled Australia and taking action in our everyday lives to do so.

The back of the guernsey features the names of all Melbourne Football Club’s Indigenous players, both past and present, honouring the important impact they’ve had on the club and its people.

North Melbourne Kangaroos

North Melbourne’s 2023 design is titled ‘Connecting Through Identity’ and is designed by Wemba Wemba, Gunditjmara, Ngadjionji, and Taungurung artist Emma Bamblett.

The design was inspired by the men’s team’s three Indigenous players, Jy Simpkin (Yorta Yorta), Tarryn Thomas (Kamilaroi and Lumaranatana) and Phoenix Spicer (Numbulwar), and their connection to their kinship country and the club.

The design also pays respect to the Wurundjeri people, the traditional owners of the land on which Arden Street Oval sits, with the Bunjil soaring over the hills and waterways at the bottom of the guernsey.

Yartapuulti Power

Yartapuulti’s design is a collaboration between two-time Port Adelaide premiership player Peter Burgoyne and Adelaide artist Laz Gein.

The guernsey depicts several generations of Burgoynes including Peter’s son and current Yartapuulti player, Jase Burgoyne and Mirning and Kokatha elder Peter Burgoyne senior, who played SANFL football for Port Adelaide in the 1970s.

The front of the guernsey centres around a beautifully intricate eagle, with its wings forming the classic ‘V’ shape and its feathers also represented within the playing numbers on the back of the jumper.

Richmond Tigers

Richmond’s Dreamtime guernsey is designed by Assistant Coach and First Nations man Xavier Clarke.

Clarke, a proud and respected Larrakia and Amrreamo/Marritjavin man, created the predominantly yellow design with artwork on the sash from an original painting.

It depicts a Wangka (dance) from Clarke’s people, the Marri Ammu Marri Tjevin people of the Moyle River floodplains, and tells the story of Elders calling out to their ancestors to protect and guide people while on country.

St Kilda Saints

St. Kilda’s 2023 guernsey is designed by Indigenous artist Jade Kennedy of the Noongar Nation, the guernsey represents the yawa (journey) of the club and its First Nations players and their families.

The family totems of AFL and AFLW players, Bradley Hill, Jade Gresham, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Marcus Windhager, Isaac Keeler, Jack Peris and J’Noemi Anderson are all included on this year’s edition.

For the first time, both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags feature on the front of the jumper, while the words Ganbu marnang n’uther boolong, the Boonwurrung translation of ‘150th year’, are printed into the hems.

Sydney Swans

The Sydney Swans players are set to don 2022’s Marn Grook guernsey again this year, which has been designed by GO Foundation scholar, Artist Lua Pellegrini.

The artwork on the guernsey is titled Duguwaybul Yindyamangidyal which means altogether respectfully: respect, gentleness, politeness, honour, careful, altogether as one. It represents connectedness, depicting the story of the 19 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who have played for the Sydney Swans, both in the past and the present.

The 19 Swans players are represented on the guernsey through 19 circles, with each circle representing the importance of the people who support the players, including their own families and communities.

West Coast Eagles

West Coast’s 2023 guernsey has a theme of connection, and has been designed by AFLW player, and Indigenous artist Krstel Petrevski.

Petrevski is from the Kimberly but sought advice and consultation from elders Simon Forrest and Vivienne Hansen on appropriate elements to represent on the guernsey.

The circles represent the club’s programs and their connection while the feathers are a symbol of past players and officials who have made a contribution to the West Coast Eagles.

Western Bulldogs

For the first time in club history the Western Bulldogs’ AFL, AFLW, VFL and VFLW will all wear the same Indigenous round jumper.

Designed by proud Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta man Jason Walker, the design represents Mirring (country) on Gunditjmara. This is where the Bulldogs are affiliated with in south-west Victoria and is inspired by the Lake Condah Possum Skin Cloak.

The etching designs on the cloak represent the Bulldogs’ staff, players and fans’ connection to country and journey throughout life.

The front of the guernsey features an eel (kooyang) intertwined throughout the red, white and blue hoops, which represents many things for Gunditjmara people, including resilience, and is an important resource for food and trade.

The kooyang’s inclusion in the design also acknowledges the West-Vic Eels Aboriginal Football Club, where many Aboriginal and Gunditjmara families, including AFL forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, have played in state-wide Aboriginal Football Carnivals.

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