The new shirt tells the story of the 19 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players who have represented the Swans.
Sydney Swans players are set to don a new Marn Grook football guernsey this year, which has been designed by GO Foundation scholar, artist Lua Pellegrini.
A proud Wiradjuri woman who grew up on Darug country, Pellegrini is studying at UNSW and is Chairperson of the NSW Youth Advisory Council.
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.
Marn Grook is the name given to a traditional game played during a corroboree of the Djawurrung and Jardwadjali clans in Victoria’s Western District. It is believed this game was one of the inspirations behind Australian rules football as it’s known today.
Pellegrini said she can’t wait to see Sydney Swans players run out in the guernsey, which will be worn in each of the two weeks of Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
“It will mean a lot, not just to me but to my family, to see the team run out in my design,” Pellegrini said. “When the Swans contacted me, I was writing an Indigenous Studies essay about Indigenous round guernseys, the importance of the round, and what it means for the Indigenous community as a whole. So, it was really special for me to be asked, and to be picked was even more exciting.”
GO Foundation Co-Founder Michael O’Loughlin said he is incredibly proud to have a GO student design the Marn Grook guernsey.
“Lua is a classic example of never giving up and that just makes my heart smile,” O’Loughlin said. “To have myself on there, representing my people back home in Adelaide – the Narungga/Ngarrindjeri/Kaurna people – that for me is really special, as it would be for all the other players who have represented the club.”
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.
The blue throughout the guernsey represents water, as water is at the core of life for First Nations peoples. Intertwined with the land, water plays a vital role in the strong connection to country of Indigenous peoples, as well as their own being.
Each of the blue circles are interwoven, showing the relationship that these 19 players share as Swans players, as well as their cultural and familial connections to one another. The light red background featured on the front and the back of the guernsey represents the future and what is to come.