Courtney Hodder during Brisbane's 2022 preliminary final and (inset) at Australian Fashion Week 2024. Pictures: AFL Media/Instagram

COURTNEY Hodder is no stranger to expressing her Indigenous culture through art, but the Brisbane forward took it to a new level at Australian Fashion Week.

The proud Noongar and Yamatji woman, who designed the Lions’ AFLW Indigenous Round guernsey in season seven, attended the David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects show last week, where up-and-coming First Nations designers told stories of their culture and family in an unconventional medium - through fashion.

Though not a "fashion girlie", Hodder was inspired by the designers' ability to tell a story through their designs, and came away with the event with a newfound appreciation for fashion.

"I consider myself a pretty simple person but going to something like this and seeing Indigenous designers that I'd never heard of, it opened my eyes to what fashion can be and also the talent that's out there," Hodder told

"I felt so proud, they all had a story and were so bright and beautiful. 

"It was definitely a big eye-opener. It was really amazing to go and get to see what Indigenous fashion is all about."

Getting dressed up for fashion week is a far cry from a footy guernsey, and Hodder was racing the clock to prepare, even putting together her own outfit on the morning of the event.

"I was at the shops, running around like a headless chook, I had training at 4pm, I hadn't booked make-up or nails," she laughed.

"I just went to Westfield when I got off the plane, quickly got ready, it was such a rush but it was worth it.

"I wouldn't say I'm a fashion girlie, but it feels good to dress up. The outfit I wore definitely isn't something I'd wear normally, but it got me in touch with that fashionable side.

"Seeing everyone else and what they wore has given me inspiration and self-confidence too to try new things and wear different things."

Hodder is no stranger to challenging herself, taking on the task of designing the AFLW Lions' Indigenous Round guernsey despite never having painted before.

"It just came naturally. I think if you have a story, you just get lost in it and just allow your hands and mind to flow,” she said.

"It was very calming for me, and so enjoyable to do that design."

Fittingly, Hodder was wearing that guernsey when she etched herself into football history in 2023.

Hodder's back-with-the-flight mark, which later won the Toyota Mark of the Year, garnered national attention for its sheer bravery and brilliance.


Launching at the footy, Hodder leapt over teammate Dakota Davidson and opponent Bess Keaney, plucking the ball out of midair and landing into a backwards roll on the turf.

"I saw no one, I had tunnel vision for that ball. I thought I had the whole 50m to myself. I was like 'this is sick, no one on my back'," she recalled.

"I was watching the ball and then I get hit and I was like 'woah what was that?!'.

"I'm actually glad I jumped at it because otherwise I would have been squashed like a sandwich.

'Daks [Davidson] was coming at the ball so hard, she said she was calling for it but I was like 'girl, I did not hear you’'. My eyes were glued on that ball."

(L-R) Dakota Davidson, Courtney Hodder and Ally Anderson in the Lions' Indigenous guernsey. Picture: Proud Meriam/Yiginiji man Lewis Bin Doraho

Hodder's mark caught the attention of an audience broader than just AFLW fans, drawing comparisons with AFL legend Jonathan Brown’s famous 2002 Mark of the Year, and was discussed on footy panels across the country.

"I think it was a huge step towards getting a broader audience," Hodder said of her mark's cultural impact.

"I had people messaging, I had Jonathan Brown commenting and reviewing my mark. It was an amazing feeling.

"I didn't think anything of it but it did blow up in the media that it was quite a big mark, and I'd say a bit of a historical mark for female athletes.

"I'm grateful and honoured to be that person and I think it just shows how much our competition is growing and how tough women actually are.

"So to represent my family and culture [wearing her Indigenous guernsey] and to win Mark of the Year was a really special moment."

Courtney Hodder celebrates Brisbane winning the 2023 AFLW Grand Final with her mum on December 3, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Growing up in Perth, Hodder's cultural journey kickstarted when she joined the Lions in 2021.

"My family don't really speak about culture too much," she said.

"Coming to Brisbane, there were lots of questions about what language group I was from, what my totem was. And I had no answers for them and I was quite embarrassed and ashamed that I was 20 and hadn't known any of that.

"It's not my fault because I wasn't taught, but also it wasn't spoken about so I didn't think to ask any questions.

"So before I was drafted I was on a mission to find out who I really am and where my family is from and what totem, stuff like that - it just took for me to ask to know the answers.

"It's been really good, and to see that women now celebrate Indigenous round it's nice for us girls to then express ourselves and make our family proud too."

While she isn't involved in this year's Sir Doug Nicholls Round, Hodder participated in the Long Walk along with fellow Indigenous teammates Ally Anderson and Dakota Davidson.

"It's always a nice walk and then we watch the boys," she said.