Fremantle’s 2020 Indigenous jumper embodies a club embarking on a new era.
Designed by former player Antoni Grover and his sisters Nicole King and Alicia King, the jumper represents Pathways to New Beginnings with links to Grover’s 202-game career, his sisters’ journey from Yamatji country in Meekatharra to Noongar land in Perth, as well as symbolising a fresh start for the football club under new senior coach Justin Longmuir.
The jumper is the fifth Indigenous jumper to be designed by a past or current player, joining Roger Hayden (2013-2016), Dale Kickett (2017-2018), Troy Cook (2019) and Jasmin Stewart (AFLW 2020).
The feature illustration at the bottom of the jumper shows the footprints of an Emu and Kangaroo along a pathway of three mandalas. As animals that can only move forwards, the Emu and Kangaroo represent the passage of time for Fremantle, a club in its third decade.
The dots inside each mandala are representative of those who have contributed to the club and the 20 dots connecting the mandalas represent Longmuir’s number in his playing days.
While the appointment of Justin Longmuir as senior coach represents a new beginning for Fremantle in 2020, the reference also calls back to Grover’s journey in football alongside Longmuir.
“Justin and I, we played state 18s together and we were drafted together. When you first start out in football, you spend a lot of time with the guys that you’ve been brought to the club with,” Grover said.
“They become your football family. Just recently, I was telling my 10-year-old daughter how Justin was at her first birthday party.
“I’m proud of where he’s got to, to now be a senior coach at an AFL club, but I know he’s aiming a lot higher.
“He wants to bring long-term success to this football club. The jumper is designed in that light, with Justin being the new senior coach and bringing a new era to the Fremantle Football Club.”
THE MESSAGE STICK
The 2020 design is the first of Fremantle’s AFL jumpers that does not illustrate boomerangs as the three chevrons. Grover said he and his sisters Nicole and Alicia felt they wanted show a fresh start by working with a ‘blank canvas’.
They instead decided to utilise a message stick as the central design feature.
The message stick is another nod to Fremantle’s coaching group. As well as Longmuir, Fremantle have a number of past players on their coaching list including Roger Hayden, Josh Carr, Simon Eastaugh and Aaron Sandilands, who are all former teammates of Grover.
“The message stick symbolises meeting and the coming together of people and the sharing of stories and ideas,” Grover said.
“For me, the message stick represents the two families in my life, my family that I’m related to, and my Fremantle family.
“In this instance, the message stick symbolises the sharing of wisdom and stories through generations of your family.
“Within the Fremantle Football Club, the message stick represents how coaches share their wisdom and guidance with the playing group.”
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THE JOURNEY OF GROVER’S FAMILY
With family being one of the main themes of the jumper, Grover and his sisters Nicole and Alicia illustrate their family’s journey through country.
“The pathways that run across the chest and run around through the stomach is representative of our family and our journey in life,” Grover said.
“My sisters both grew up in Meekatharra in Yamatji country and both live down here in Noongar country now. This represents the many pathways our family and extended family have taken to this point in life.”
THE STOLEN GENERATION FLOWER
The Stolen Generation Flower remains a symbol at the heart of the jumper’s design, as it has since 2014.
The flower is a hibiscus flower, which symbolises the scattering of the Stolen Generations and its resilience to grow and blossom all around Australia.
The Kimberley Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation has given Fremantle permission to use the flower in the Indigenous jumpers across Freo’s men’s and women’s teams.
“It’s something that is significant to the Aboriginal community,” Grover said.
“It represents the stolen generation and it’s important that the club continues to shows their support and understanding of the significant impact it has had on our community.”
The back of the jumper paints a beautiful sunrise over Yamatji country, illustrating the Emu and Kangaroo on their journey from the front of the jumper.
To Grover, it brings back fond memories of his childhood.
“The back of the jumper, that represents my early experiences up in Yamatji country, being out on the flat in early morning and the sun rising,” Grover said.
“The sunrise over country symbolises a new beginning and it encompasses the overall theme of a new beginning at Fremantle.”