FOR THE first time all 18 clubs will wear specially designed guernseys during Indigenous Round in round 11.
The jumpers were recently signed off by the AFL, with AFL.com.au able to exclusively reveal Melbourne’s design, which the club believes reflects its commitment to and support of the Northern Territory, specifically Alice Springs and the remote community of Nyirripi, north-west of Alice Springs. The Nyirripi Demons are the local club and also wear red and blue.
Melbourne has close links to the Northern Territory, via current and past players, and has a commercial arrangement with Tourism NT.
The Demons have played one ‘home’ game a season at TIO Stadium Darwin since 2010 and this year will play Port Adelaide at TIO Traegar Park in Indigenous Round and Fremantle in Darwin in round 16, following a NAB Challenge game in Alice Springs during the pre-season.
They have developed strong links with communities in the Territory, supporting programs including trachoma elimination and literacy activities, and want to reflect their support and commitment to Alice Springs by wearing a unique jumper.
A club spokesman said it had worked closely with the Northern Territory government to contact artists from Nyirripi. Artists provided the club with several design options reflecting stories of significance to the community.
The artist chosen was Ursula Napangardi Hudson and the image used in the jumper is an adaptation of her Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Vaughan Springs Dreaming) piece. Pikilyi is a significant local spring in the Nyirripi area and a subject of local artists.
The club received support from the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation (Artists of Yuendumu), including Cecily Granites (the grandmother of ex-Demon Liam Jurrah), to secure authorisation from local community leaders to use the image.
“It is important for Melbourne to ensure integrity and due respect were afforded the local community, so the players are able to wear the jumper with pride,” the club spokesman said.
The club will present a set of jumpers to the Nyirripi Demons.
Other clubs are expected to release their designs closer to Indigenous Round, with all guernseys to be officially launched leading up to the round.