Current National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s league leaders Wollongong Wolves will be celebrating NAIDOC Week with the senior squad set to wear a commemorative strip in their round 18 clash against Hakoah Sydney City East this Sunday at WIN Stadium.
NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.
In January this year the Wolves hosted a series of multi age group clashes between the Mariya (Australian Indigenous teams) and various opponents, including ourselves, which served as preparation for the National Indigenous Football Championships.
‘The Wolves’ have a close association with the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council and Mr Bernie McLeod of the Wreck Bay Sharks FC who has been instrumental in providing opportunities for indigenous footballers.
To celebrate NAIDOC week, the club will wear a special commemorative jersey designed by Trent Duffy of ‘Artistic One Indigenous Art’. The jersey is courtesy of our apparel supplier GIOCA.
Various other cultural ceremonies will take place during the day.
The Wolves see this as one way of supporting our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire was full of praise of the club supporting such a week.
“Over the past few years the club has developed a strong relationship with indigenous leaders on the South Coast and we look forward to the day when indigenous players are prominent in our teams. Indigenous footballers are very talented athletes and our game needs them. Celebrating NAIDOC week with the commemorative shirt and other activities is our way of showing our respect to the traditional owners of our land.”
Bernie McLeod of the Wreck Bay Sharks FC stated his delight with seeing the Wolves respect the Indigenous community with this unique gesture.
“I am extremely proud that Luke Wilkshire and the Wollongong Wolves FC embraced the idea to acknowledge the First Nations Peoples of Australia by wearing an indigenous jersey to commemorate this leading into NAIDOC Week. The artist for the shirt was Trent Duffy (Artistic One Indigenous Art) who did a fantastic job.”
Paul Knight, CEO of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council echoed McLeod’s thoughts.
“The Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council is excited by the collaboration with the Wollongong Wolves and the development potential for Aboriginal athletes in the region. We see the opportunity for celebrating NAIDOC week with the Wolves as another exciting aspect of this developing partnership.”