Design and Stories: Indigenous Round

By Abby Collins

This weekend, ovals across the country will pulse with the vibrant heartbeat of Indigenous culture. The Indigenous Round, an annual celebration honouring the invaluable contributions of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, takes centre stage.

As players stride onto the field, a kaleidoscope of unique Indigenous designs will be worn across fields, each stitch a moving tale of club culture, heritage, and deep connections to the land. These sacred canvases are more than mere jerseys- they are living tapestries woven with pride and resilience.

The efforts put into each club’s jersey design, often extending to painted boots, highlight the round’s importance to the AFL community and beyond. Emma MacNeill, an Indigenous artist, and Wilston Grange footy player, considers this round to be one of the most crucial of every season.

“I can’t believe its Indigenous round already,” MacNeill said.

“Creating the guernsey was such a journey, one I am grateful to have been able to contribute to.

“It’s such an important round; I love all the special elements of it.”

The round is not limited to the art on the guernseys, it also brings in an array of Aboriginal traditions for supporters and players to be a part of.

“At Wilston Grange, the celebrations begin with an Acknowledgement of Country, followed by Indigenous dancers preforming pre-match and then a ribbon or balloon banner for the girls to run through.

“It’s a day where we get to embrace our culture and really celebrate our Indigenous players and heritage.

“It’s a round all about respect, inclusivity and pride.”


Faces and Stories

Wilston Grange

Designer: Emma MacNeill

MacNeill, a member of the Gorillas women’s side and a well-respected Indigenous artist has designed several Indigenous AFL guernseys, including those worn by the Brisbane Lions and North Melbourne.

Story: Two power elements, the boomerang and digging sticks, are used to represent the women’s and men’s sides. Emma made a point of finding out everyone players home totems to include the players past stories alongside their ones at Wilston Grange. The Fierce weapon was used as the men’s representation, while the digging sticks pay homage to the women and all the stories passed on through the generations while these instruments were traditionally used.

The design centres around inclusivity, capturing the journey of the past, current, and future players. MacNeill’s vision showcases the club’s inclusive nature and their pride for their culture.



Designer: Luther Cora

Cora, a local artist from the Yugambeh language group, was commissioned to design the club’s inaugural guernsey, helping them share their pride, heritage, and respect. A dancer and award-winning artist, Cora and his family present the Aboriginal Culture and Dance show daily at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Story: The Broadbeach Cats’ jersey is designed to represent the land the club is built on and the custodians, the Saltwater people’s, way of life.  The design is used to show how they would live sustainably off the seas, rivers, creeks, and waterways, collecting, and gathering pippies and oysters.

The Cat’s will proudly don Cora’s design this weekend, representing and sharing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture at their football club and in their community.


Bond University

Designer: Narelle Urquhart

A proud Wradjuri woman and Indigenous Advisor for Bond University, Narelle designed the Bull Sharks Indigenous guernsey for both the Men and Women who call Bond home.

Story: The back panel features a bull shark to represent the teams who play under that name and the bull sharks in the water ways in their environment. The travelling tracks are used to symbolise the coming together of all the sports under the Bull Sharks flag. With depictions of the river and ecosystem on the front panel of the guernsey, and the bull sharks’ home on the back, the jersey tells the story of The Canal, the home of both Rugby and AFL at Bond University.

Urquhart’s design holds a special place in the hearts of all Bondies, showcasing the story of how sport brings people together in spirit and through culture. The Bond University guernsey is made for past, present, and future players. With the likes of Andy Lovell, head coach of Bond’s QAFLW team, prioritising pride, and inclusiveness in the club culture. When the club runs on to the field under Urquhart’s intricate design, they feel whole.  



Redland Victoria Point

Designer: Patrick Coolwell and Kaiyu Moura Bayles

Patrick, a traditional artistic from North Stradbroke Island teamed up with his partner, Kaiyu, to create a special design for the Redland Victoria Point Indigenous guernsey. Alongside their six kids, the pair will be presenting the Welcome to Country Ceremony for the Sharks home game, helping the club to further celebrate their indigenous players this round.

Story: This is the second design pieced together by the couple for the club. In this design they have included five totems on the jersey to represent the five indigenous players that call the club home. The powerful symbol of the yarning circle is used five times to pay homage to the five teams of sharks who honour the guernsey, club culture and teammates by donning it for such a significant round.

The guernsey has a special element added specifically for the players. The inside of each jersey reads “We gather on Noonuccal Country, united by our club/family. Generations and generations of legends make up our teams,” paying respect to the players that have come before them and the land they use, in a very personal and private way.


To be worn this weekend:


Redland Victoria Point                  v                      Aspley

Indigenous guernsey                                                               Indigenous guernsey

Surfers Paradise                              v                      Palm Beach Currumbin

Indigenous guernsey                                                               Home guernsey

Broadbeach                                     v                      Morningside

Indigenous guernsey                                                               Indigenous guernsey

Noosa                                                v                      Labrador

Home guernsey                                                                         Home guernsey

Mt Gravatt                                        v                      Maroochydore

Indigenous guernsey                                                               Home guernsey

Sherwood                                         v                      Wilston Grange

Home guernsey                                                                         Indigenous guernsey



Coorparoo                                        v                      Southport

Indigenous guernsey                                                              Indigenous guernsey

Wilston Grange                               v                      Aspley

Indigenous guernsey                                                             Indigenous guernsey

Maroochydore                                v                      Bond University

Home guernsey                                                                       Indigenous guernsey

University of Queensland             v                      Yeronga- South Brisbane

Indigenous guernsey                                                             Away guernsey





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