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Story behind Indigenous guernsey

Kieron Turner  May 23, 2017 11:29 AM

2017 Indigenous Guernsey Adelaide will channel the Crow warrior spirit when it takes to the field in Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round in Round 10.
I enjoy playing in (Indigenous Round). Just to represent my culture, my family, the brothers we have on the footy team and I always get up for playing Indigenous Round.

Crows players will wear a special guernsey designed by accomplished Indigenous South Australian artist Allan Sumner to celebrate Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval.

Sumner, a descendant of the Ngarrindjeri, Kaurna and Yankunytjatjara people, designed the navy blue guernsey in collaboration with local Aboriginal business Ochre Dawn Creative Industries. The design prominently displays the symbols of the warrior preparing for battle.

The title of the design is Kuwa Irrapina Tuwila nakurri-apinga, which means ‘Awaken the Crow Warrior Spirit’. The aim of the guernsey is to inspire Crows players and stimulate their warrior spirit when they take the field against the Dockers on Saturday night.

“We have the shield which is most prominent in the Guernsey, but we also have that side by side with the spears and the boomerangs,” Sumner said.

“Those are our weapons, the tools of the trade and they come from a long line of Ancestor Warriors and having them on the Guernsey itself is quite significant for the Kaurna people but also for the team as well.

“The idea was when they put their guernseys on is that they’re taking up their arms ready for battle to go out on the footy field.”

CROWmania: Buy our 2017 Indigenous Guernsey

Three interconnecting circles acknowledge the different Kaurna communities that are spread out across the Kaurna Parpunta or Adelaide Plains – north, south and central – and represent the bond between the Adelaide Football Club and Kaurna land. 

The dots surrounding these circles show the bringing together of people around the sports field to achieve great things, while the red and yellow lines symbolise both the iconic Adelaide waterways as well as the continuing journey of the Adelaide Football Club in connecting with the Kaurna community.

Artist Allan Sumner and Adelaide's Indigenous players

Two-time All Australian forward Eddie Betts is a man who loves playing in Indigenous Round each year, embracing the opportunity to represent not only his family but also the Indigenous people and culture.

“I absolutely love the design. Allan Sumner’s done a great job with it. It’s fantastic and when you hear the story it speaks proudly about the Indigenous culture, where it comes from,” Betts said.

“Tune into Indigenous Round because you could learn a lot just in that week. It’s a fantastic round, I enjoy playing in it. Just to represent my culture, my family, the brothers we have on the footy team and I always get up for playing Indigenous Round.”

Betts has produced two moments of trademark brilliance in Indigenous Round in the last two years, winning back-to-back AFL Goal of the Year awards from the forward pocket.

He booted five goals last year to lead the Crows to a 22-point win over Greater Western Sydney and is looking forward to this year’s Indigenous Round.

“The last two years in Indigenous Round I’ve kicked goal of the year at Adelaide Oval in the pocket so if I’m ever in that pocket, boys, pass me the ball,” Betts joked.

“It’s about joining together and coming together. We’re trying to send messages out there about stomping out racism from the game.

“It’s a great round, I really enjoy it and I can’t wait to run out there with the boys.”