Force reveal First Nations jersey

· Super Rugby - AU
by Rugby WA Media

The Western Force is thrilled to reveal our bespoke First Nation’s Round jersey designed by renowned Nyoongar artist Peter John Farmer II.

The jersey, which features the logo of Generation One, an initiative of Minderoo Foundation that advocates for Indigenous employment parity, will be worn by the Force this Friday, 12 March against the Melbourne Rebels at HBF Park as part of the inaugural Super Rugby AU First Nations Round.

This weekend’s Round Four of the competition will mark a week of recognition, awareness and celebration of Australia’s First Nations history and culture.

Artist Peter Farmer describes the unique design as one representing the Djooroot’s (journey lines) that the club has experienced throughout its history.

“I have placed these journeys and travels on the field of play, that symbolises the seasons travels,” Mr Farmer explained.

“The symbols included in this piece have also the journey lines for the 15 players on the field and the eight on the bench.

“As a collective the ‘journey lines’ are in line for each individual to be in tune with each other; the competition is about a team effort and for that team to be in tune with each other, depicted in this work visually.”

The jersey was given a traditional Blessing Ceremony today by WA’s longest-serving Aboriginal academic, Wadjuk Nyoongar Elder Professor Simon Forrest at St Catherine’s College.

Head of rugby Matt Hodgson, who is one of 14 First Nations players to represent the Wallabies, said it’s fantastic to see the Nyoongar culture celebrated in Super Rugby in front of WA fans.

“To work in collaboration with Peter Farmer is always a privilege, and to have him contribute his time and knowledge to create a jersey for the Western Force is no exception,” Hodgson explained.

“It’s going to be a great occasion this Friday with traditional ceremonies taking place pre-match and it’s an honour for each player to pull on this jersey against the Rebels. I can’t wait to see it in action right here in Perth at HBF Park.”

Generation One CEO and Nyoongar woman Shelley Cable stressed the important role employment plays in the push to Close the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“Jobs are a chance for economic independence, self-determination, and a better future for ourselves and our families,” Ms Cable said.

“Today, less than half of all Indigenous Australians are in work. And at today’s pace, it will take 200 years to close the employment gap.

“It is up to all of us, every workplace and every leader, to support Indigenous employment. We can and must increase the pace, to realise Indigenous employment parity in our generation.”

The jersey will be available for purchase at this Friday’s clash with the Rebels at the merch pods underneath the Eastern Grandstand.