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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                    • Central America hey mate? Hmmmmm - I'm thinking there may have been some very questionable intake of illicit substances on your part? maybe a couple of shady arms deals?  :)

                      Tragic's amazing - looking forward to sitting down with him for an hour or 12 one day and listening....

                    • I could definitely devote a few bottles of red-wine-time to hearing about Kathmandu to London by land!

                      Illicit substances, you say? There was one drug I really should have taken: Diamox. It's for altitude sickness. You start to take it 1-2 days out from an ascent. We thought we would acclimate naturally but it didn't work. Went to Tajamulco, 14,000 feet, in Guatemala. The last 100 feet (the dead cone of the volcano) took 3 hours of one step forward two steps backwards and so fucking dizzy it was insane. But that view. Wow. Worth every dead brain neuron. 
                      All remaining illicit substance stories remain unproven allegations 

                    • LOL!

                      Actually, Tragic has trekked The Himalayas as well - he's done Everest base camp and some other stuff.

                      Let us know next time you're in SYD - I know it might be a while what with checkpoint charlie being set up a couple of days ago and everything .. :)

                    • I also have been to woy woy.

                      Wasn't impressed.


            • Poppa, I'm going to stick up for Magpie on this one. Though I'm under no illusions about anyone wanting me as an ally on this forum! Sorry Magpie! 
              Let's look at Magpie's "interaction". That's what you called it. Magpie pointed out that White folk have been neck deep in colonial conquest for centuries. This is true. It's in the history books. Everyone is free to spin this as good or bad for this or that civilization or culture of the March of Destiny, but white colonialism for about 500 years is a straight fact. 
              But most importantly, what does Magpie do when challenged? Magpie sought to build bridges, to raise some larger points and show some common troubles, and Magpie explicitly avoided hurling insults and instead said let's be fair. Now Poppa you say you agree with the right rhetoric on here (even if you're not a fascist, you say) but we see that right rhetoric is to build walls, deny commonality, and hurl insults. So how in hell it's Magpie you find disgusting is incredulous. Unless you prefer the bile that some spew over Magpie's de-escalation. I don't know Magpie from all the other birds but I reckon Magpie is owed an apology!

          • Maggies learning the tricks if the trade, nice one Maggie.


            • Fuck off Snake :)

  • Celebrate my Irish heritage. Great great great grand dad's favourite jersey. 

  • "Everyone’s equal, everyone bleeds the same.."



  • I like this jersey. I prefer when they stick to the Eels colour palette a but closer. It's an indigenous jersey but it's a Parramatta Eels jersey which is blue and gold. 

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