After being isolated and bored earlier in the year, Courtney Hodder, Brisbane’s premiership forward and proud Noongah Yamaji lady, was commissioned to design the club’s next AFLW Indigenous Guernsey.
“I was in quarantine, no iPad, nothing. Yes, I was a little stressed,” Hodder said. Ladies.afl.
“I actually started painting on canvas, but it was too difficult, so[Brisbane Women’s CEO Breanna Bullock]got an iPad and a pen and basically painted.”
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Hodder knew the story she wanted to tell in Guernsey, but used the job as an opportunity to connect more deeply with her culture.
“For me it was also about reaching out to the elders and asking them what certain things symbolized so they could get it right in Guernsey. I think that’s the main thing, and then everything else just works,” Hodder explains.
Ultimately, she decided to “build something in two days,” sitting in front of her iPad at 2am meticulously choosing colors and placing symbols.
Guernsey tells the story of new beginnings for the club as the Brisbane Lions converge at their new home at Brighton Homes Arena. Hodder depicts the various people who run the club, from players to staff, fans and families, and is pictured on both sides of Guernsey.
Both the women’s and men’s programs are represented by wooden symbols in the front, with the totems of Aboriginal teammates Gungal woman Ali Anderson and Gundomichimara woman Dakota Davidson displayed next to Hodder’s totem. Additionally, the six circles above Guernsey represent the six AFLW Foundation Lions still in the club today.
Hodder became the third AFLW Lion to design the club’s Indigenous Guernsey, following Davidson and Anderson in recent seasons.
“Originally, they were approaching us girls as a whole,” Davidson said. “I don’t think Kourtney was with us at the time, so she was the only person Al[Anderson]and I were Aboriginal.”
At the time, Anderson was unable to help, so the design was initially entrusted to a panicked Davidson.
“I was thrown in like, ‘Oh my God, I have no design skills at all.’ I need a lot of help,” Davidson said.
Help came from discussions with former men’s player Allen Christensen, who recently designed the Men’s Indigenous Guernsey, and hours of work with the design team. It was in that island of Guernsey that the team claimed his first AFLW premiership last year.
Davidson then passed the baton to Anderson, who had the time and ability to focus on design last season.
“Originally I didn’t have the time. It was too stressful to think about because I feel like it means a lot to us. And if you want to do it, I want to create, I want to put everything on the back burner and do justice for us,” Anderson explained.
That pressure to ‘do justice’ was responsible for the stress and panic each player experienced upon first assuming responsibility, simply because of how important this representation is to the Indigenous peoples across the club.
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“(Christensen) asked me many years ago if I wanted an indigenous totem for Men’s Guernsey.
“When men wore Guernseys, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s my totem, I’m in their Guernseys.’ I wanted everyone on the team to feel that connection. Put on your jersey and say, ‘Oh, I’m really a part of this.
The design also encouraged conversations and prompted questions from teammates about indigenous cultures.
“I think they were all really excited,” Hodder said.
“Obviously, when (Davidson) brought her Guernsey in (Anderson) and I followed my third Guernsey, they were very excited to learn about our culture. We did some learning sessions with them. They are very passionate about learning and expressing our culture.”
“I’m just proud. I’m proud of your people.”