Bulldogs to wear special jumpers for NAIDOC Round

Tuesday, July 4, 2017 - 2:17 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle has a rich Indigenous history as the Bulldogs prepare to play Claremont in the annual NAIDOC Round clash this Saturday and they will wear an extra special jumper for the occasion.

South Fremantle and Claremont have met now in the annual NAIDOC Round clashes since 2007 and that tradition continues this Saturday as two of the clubs with the strongest Indigenous history in Australia lock horns at Claremont Oval.

The Bulldogs on Saturday will wear a new jumper design for the occasion created by South Fremantle product Jermaine Miller-Lewis.

South Fremantle's heritage of Indigenous players includes the club having named its own Indigenous Team of the Century in 2009, having four Bulldogs players named in the AFL's Indigenous Team of the Century and had around 100 players of Aboriginal backgrounds representing the club.

South Fremantle and Claremont have set the standard in the WAFL with NAIDOC celebrations largely because of the Indigenous players historically who have come through their ranks, including Stephen Michael, Wally, Phil and Peter Matera, Jeff Farmer, Maurice Rioli, Nicky Winmar (South Fremantle), and Jim and Phil Krakouer, Irwin Lewis and son Chris (Claremont).

The Bulldogs and Tigers have now met in NAIDOC Week clashes each year since beginning the concept in 2007.

Claremont won that first clash at Fremantle Oval but South Fremantle was represented by Keith Pickett, Keren Ugle, Tommy Corbett-Wynne and Peter Narkle.

The Tigers again won by 10 points in 2008 again at Fremantle Oval with Ugle and Shane Tipuamantamerri playing for the Bulldogs before South Fremantle thumped Claremont at the port in 2009 by 78 points.

Ugle, Jeff Farmer and Toby McGrath played that day for South Fremantle with Jayden Woods lining up for Claremont.

Claremont got back to the winner's list in 2010 winning by 27 points with McGrath representing South Fremantle and Jarrod Ninyette lining up for the Tigers.

It was played at Claremont Oval in 2011 with the Tigers winning a thriller by three points with Alroy Gilligan and Gerrick Weedon playing for Claremont, and Woods and McGrath for South Fremantle.

Claremont also won by 55 points in 2012 at Claremont Oval with Weeden playing for the Tigers and Woods and Jordan Wilson-King for the Bulldogs.

It was another thrilling contest at Fremantle Oval in 2013 with Claremont beating South Fremantle 13.16 (94) to 14.6 (90). Nick Winmar had 15 possessions for the Tigers while Tim Kelly impressed for South Fremantle with 18 disposals and a goal with Kaiden Matera and Jacob Martinez also playing.

The 2014 edition of the annual contest took place at the Claremont Showground with the Tigers winning by 22 points on a day where Toby Bairstow played his 100th game for the Bulldogs but injuries to the likes of Ryan Cook, Adam Guglielmana and Ashton Hams proved costly.

Martinez was one of the best players on the ground for South Fremantle with 23 possessions, 10 marks and seven inside-50 entries.

In 2015 at the Claremont Showground, it was Claremont who held off a fast-finishing South Fremantle to win 9.10 (64) to 8.12 (60).

Francis Watson played for Claremont and finished with 15 possessions and five tackles while Tim Kelly, Jacob Martinez, Marlion Pickett and Traye Bennell were all out there for South Fremantle.

Then last year, Claremont again prevailed beating South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Miller-Lewis has always had a passion for his artwork when he was rising through the ranks at South Fremantle, and then when spending the past two years in the AFL system at Hawthorn.

He is taking a break from top-level football in 2017 to work out where his future lies, but he was excited by the prospect of designing the Bulldogs' NAIDOC jumper for 2017.

"As a club they came to me about the possibility of designing the jumper and Dave expressed their interest in terms of using my artwork for this year's NAIDOC Week game," Miller-Lewis said.

"I'm so happy that they thought about me in that way when the process was coming around and I'm super proud to have my design on the jumper.

"I've been aligned with the club since I came through the young Warriors programs, so to be able to put my artwork on the jumper and express myself as an artist and person means a lot to me.

"Quite often you are just seen your footy abilities and judged by that, but being able to express myself through art humanises everything and lets you focus on your mind, body and spirit."

Miller-Lewis is also proud of the design itself and of the story it tells.

"As for the design itself, what I have interpreted as the Swan River is running through it and that is quite significant to the Noongar people as in that's part of their dreaming stories with the woggle coming to rest in the Swan River for creation time," he said.

"The symbols on the outside represent that South Fremantle is the main meeting place of a travel line of where people come to play. It's a design that holds significance that is close to South Fremantle and myself as well."

Miller-Lewis now can't wait to see the South Fremantle team, including Marlion Pickett, Tim Kelly, Steven Edwards, Jarrod Garlett, Matthew Parker and Josh Collard, run out at league and reserves level on Saturday wearing the jumper he designed.

"It's going to be a big moment for myself because I haven’t had my artwork on a jumper like that before which was specifically designed by me. It's going to be very special," Miller-Lewis said.

"I had input to the one at Hawthorn when I was there but I really like this rustic style and I did it that way on purpose because I wanted to express myself as an artist. It's going to be a great feeling actually seeing it on the jumper and I can't wait to get my own to keep and pass it on to the little ones."