Western Force will wear unique Indigenous-designed home and away jumpers for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.
The design, created by Nyoongar artist Darryl Bellotti, represents the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River) with circular patterns showing the Boodja (land) of the different regions within WA.
Curved lines symbolise the journey the club has taken, while swirls demonstrate the ripples in water caused by the Maali (black swan).
Bellotti said the design was intended to create a sense of belonging for all Western Australian’s.
“I took inspiration from the Derbal Yerrigan, the Boodja and intertwined these with the journey lines showing the history of the Force,” Bellotti said.
“So much of Nyoongar culture revolves around the water, it holds a sacred significance to it, so to involve the Derbal Yarrigan and connect it to the Sea of Blue, the passionate and loyal fans, was fantastic.
“The water is the life source, much like the fans are for the club.
“The Force may play here in Perth in Nyoongar country, but they are also representing the entire state, so I made sure to frame the design to show the four corners of WA.”
It is the first time the Force chnage jmper has been predominantly black.
Western Force great and now rugby manager Matt Hodgson is one of 14 Indigenous players to play for the Wallabies.
The former Force captain and record games holder said the jumper was a positive and vital step for the club.
“Following the success we had with the First Nations Round last year and the pride we felt putting on that jersey, we decided to ensure we did more to represent and engage with the Indigenous community within WA,” Hodgson said.
“The First Nations people are such an integral part of this state’s history, so we want to represent them in everything that we do, not just on game day.
“We are committed to growing the game outside the Perth metro area to engage and connect with the wider WA communities.
“This is one step in that process.
“We recognise there’s a lot more work to do in that space, but this is a significant and exciting moment in that journey.”
Force chief executive Tony Lewis said the initiative acknowledged the past and what it represents for the future.
“As a club we strive to be the leading force in everything we do, so to be the first rugby team in the country to incorporate an Indigenous design for our home and away jerseys is something we’re immensely proud of,” Lewis stated.
“It’s truly special to have the whole club behind it.
“Having seen the jerseys receive a water blessing from Professor Simon Forrest, we want people to know that this is just the beginning.
“We are determined to continue to engage with the Indigenous community throughout WA.”