This year’s Indigenous Jersey had a special meaning and story behind the design, with seven of Souths Cares program participants teaming up with Uncle Joe Walker to create the concept. The participants included Adrian Scanlon, Imogen Grant, Jayden Simms, Mia Gregory, and Tyreece Lyons from the Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) program and Melodey Roberts and Natalie Trovato from the Liverpool Opportunity Hub program.
The Rabbitohs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players wanted to give back to the community and share the honour of designing the 2021 Indigenous Jersey with young people being mentored by Souths Cares. The design process commenced earlier in the year with students attending workshops at Rabbitohs Headquarters, facilitated by Uncle Joe.
Shown on the front of the Jersey were the Bidjigal (Whale) and the Gadigal (Sand Goanna) totems. These totems represent the lands on which the Rabbitohs train and play.
Represented on the back of the Jersey is a meeting place along with footprints of the seven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players that are in the Rabbitohs top squad – Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell, Alex Johnston, Dane Gagai, Braidon Burns, Troy Dargan and Joshua Cook.
Illustrated on the back of the Jersey was Pemulwuy, an Aboriginal Warrior of Eora decent, who was known for his resistance to the European colonization of Australia. He is believed to be a member of the Bidjigal Clan.
Down the sides of the jersey are the handprints of the seven Souths Cares participants who helped design the jersey. This was significant as the Rabbitohs players were representing the youth and their communities.
Rabbitohs Indigenous Jersey 2021
The Rabbitohs team wore the Jersey on the weekends home game against the Parramatta Eels, which formed a host of celebrations and activities to recognize NRL Indigenous Round.
The night included a special on-field presentation for the students where they were presented with their own 2021 Indigenous jersey and other merchandise from South Sydney Rabbitohs Indigenous player Troy Dargan, forming the guard of honor to welcome the players onto the field, delivering the NRL match-day ball for kick off, letting off Red, Black, and Yellow smoke in the middle of Stadium Australia and showcasing the making of the 2021 Indigenous jersey video on the big screen before the game.
The students were then hosted as VIP guests in a Rabbitohs Corporate Suite which was the perfect venue to see the Rabbitohs team get another win during Indigenous Round. The participants explained the jersey design and Indigenous round celebrations had a significant upon them.
“The game on Saturday night was one, if not the most, memorable things I have ever done. It was one of the most incredible feelings to show and express my Indigenous heritage in front of everyone but most of all in front of my family.” Melodey Roberts said.
“Seeing the boys wear the jersey we designed on Saturday meant a lot to me and my community of La Perouse. The design process was great, working with Uncle Joe Walker and the other guys, I got to express my feelings on the jersey.
Saturday night was awesome for myself and my family, it was unbelievable to see a lot of the crowd and the players wearing the Indigenous jersey that we helped design.” Jayden Simms said.