WEARING the Port Adelaide guernsey is special for any footballer, but it will have more meaning for ruckman Paddy Ryder in the 2018 AFL Sir Douglas Nicholls Indigenous Round, when he wears one he helped design.

Port Adelaide has empowered its indigenous players to design its guernseys for the Indigenous Round, with Jake Neade, Karl Amon, Chad Wingard and Nathan Krakouer involved in recent years.

In 2018, the Power will wear a guernsey designed by Ryder and his uncle Kevin Bynder, a Whadjuk-Yuet-Badimia Aboriginal in the official indigenous round in Round 11 against Hawthorn in Tasmania.

It will also be worn in the Power’s Round 12 match at home against Richmond.

“One of my uncles back in WA is an Aboriginal artist and he’s been able to come up with a design based on the Port Adelaide Football Club and the area as well,” Ryder said.

“The story shows the ten indigenous players on the list and where they come from all around Australia and the centrepiece represents the Port Adelaide Football Club.

“It shows the ten players and Kenny sitting around and having a chat at the Port footy club and some of the elders looking down and protecting the players and the club.

“You see some representation of the water that surrounds the Port Adelaide area, the Port River and the beach as well.”

The club’s indigenous players are represented by circles known as camping places, representing their homes all over Australia, which they have left to pursue their dreams.

A big camping place situated in the middle of the guernsey represents the Port Adelaide Football Club with the pathways connecting and leading the players there.

The design features the club’s ten indigenous players sitting around a campfire with coach Ken Hinkley, teaching him about Aboriginal culture while he sits and listens.

Below that are kangaroo tracks, symbolising the kangaroo as a totem but also its role as a traditional food, which is hunted and shared with family.

The top section of the guernsey features circles, representing the football community of Port Adelaide and those past and present who have helped build the club.

Black and white dots between the circles represent the Magpies in the SANFL and there is a nod to the lightning bolt of the Power.

The grey at the bottom represents the waters of Port Adelaide and the four camping places in between the large circle and the community represent the local Aboriginal people of that area camping on the banks of the ocean as they have done for thousands of years.

Ryder said he was extremely proud to be involved in the design and will be even more proud to wear it.

“The main thing for me was to incorporate the ten indigenous players, we’ve got the most on the list from any team in the AFL,” he said.

“The last couple of years, it’s something I’ve really been looking forward to, being able to stamp my name on the jumper and my family is really looking forward to getting their hands on the jumper.

“Being involved in a club that does so much for Aboriginal people – our programs are amazing – to be able to come up with a design for this great football club is something that I’m really proud of.

“To be able to get back fit, and to be able to put this jumper on after putting my special little touch on it, it’s going to be awesome.”

Port Adelaide’s Director of Aboriginal Programs Paul Vandenbergh said the designs by players and their families were all very different and unique to their backgrounds.

“I think people are going to love Paddy’s design, which is pretty incredible,” he said.

“It’s something I’m really proud of Paddy for pulling together and I think the meaning of the ten Aboriginal players sitting around discussing culture with Kenny is a pretty powerful explanation behind it.

“Then the representation of all the other players, staff and community of the Port Adelaide Football Club just really represents everything we discuss at the club about bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together by talking.”

“And we actually want to start rolling the design out through our Aboriginal Programs so in our remote communities you’ll see the design appearing on some of the t-shirts and hoodies that we provide to young people in our programs.”

Port Adelaide’s 2018 Indigenous round guernsey is available at the Port Store online or in store from tomorrow morning.

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