6754572878?profile=RESIZE_710xRound 12 is a special point in the NRL calendar, as Eels utility Will Smith knows too well.

It’s Indigenous Round.

“It just makes me very proud to be an Indigenous man. It’s one of those weekends where we get to celebrate our culture,” he said.

The Parramatta Eels will play the Bulldogs wearing specially designed jerseys by Aboriginal artist Danielle Mate Sullivan, with input from Will.

“The artwork is called connection so it’s about a connection between the past and the present,” Danielle said.

“I’m absolutely rapt with it. The colours are so intense and there’s so much to look at on it.”


Eels' "pride" in 2020 Indigenous Jersey

One of the more special features on the jersey is on the back.

“My favourite (part) would be just down the back there, there’s four hands. Two of the hands are my two kids of two of the hands are Fergo’s two kids. I think it’s just a great touch, they’ll love that,” Will said.

“My kids are very proud to be Indigenous. My daughter goes to a school here in Parramatta and she is the only Indigenous kid at the whole school and she is very proud to tell everyone at the school that she is Indigenous,” he said.


The large circle on the front of the jersey represents the meeting place for the players/warriors of the game, while the line to the top is a journey line to the players’ homelands.

The smaller circles are a nod to communities the Eels visit and work with.

“The past is represented by the warrior and the Parramatta River. The Burramattagal people, who are a clan of the Darug, have a connection to this river where they first settled and caught fish, eels and other sources of food,” Danielle said.

Colours from the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Flags feature on the sides of the jersey.


“I can’t wait to see all the players with the jersey on run out onto the field ... That will be a really proud moment,” Danielle said.

“For an organisation as big as the NRL to acknowledge and to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is huge,” she said.

Blake hopes the Round will not only bring Indigenous culture to the forefront, but also prompt important conversations.

“Everyone’s equal, everyone bleeds the same, so just hopefully we can get that across the board and get that local knowledge into everyone about elders past, present and future. There are conversations to be had,” he said.

You can purchase the 2020 Eels Indigenous Jersey here and see more of Danielle Mate Sullivan's work at her website

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  • Beautiful 

    I’ve met wills little girl she is divine !! She has wills gorgeous eyes too!!!

    will is such a proud indigenous player , his pop is such a great and revered leader at our preschool . The kids rang his pop last week as we miss him . Nice work will !!!

  • FMD, It looks like a dogs eaten a box of crayons and taken a big shit on an eels jersey, no offence to the artist.

    Wouldnt want to wear that near anybody who has epilepsy.


    • Snake don’t be an asshole 

      • So its ok to bag art as long as its white peoples art?

        Unfortunately for this lady, she didnt know when to stop.


        • Indigenous art and symbols all have meaning - mb that means our opinion of what is visually pleasing is compromised by the storytelling 

          I’ve learnt a lot from uncle bill 

          wills pop 

        • 6755476299?profile=RESIZE_400x

          • Two things Professor Daft you need to cease doing

            1.  Lower your consumption of red cordial, it plays havoc with your system; and

            2. Stop doona diving so you can inhale your own Dutch ovens, only bad things will come from that my boy 

        • Yep

          Art is subjective and regardless of who paints it if it' looks shit, it's shit.,..

    • Bavk off snake. Fine line on many fronts here.

      You can do better.


      • Thanks Chucky but i dont care about crossing lines because they are other peoples lines, not mine.

        To be fair i dont think i crossed any lines, just a bit of dark humour.

        I wont be changing.


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