When the Queanbeyan Blues Rugby League Club players take the field, they always wear their hearts on their sleeves.
For the recent Canberra Raiders Cup Indigenous round, the club’s senior teams also wore the heart of the Indigenous community on their jumpers when they ran onto Seiffert Oval against the West Belconnen Warriors.
The jumpers were designed by Wiradjuri artist and Canberra resident Kristie Peters, who was approached by the Queanbeyan Blues to celebrate the Indigenous round.
Kristie explains the meanings behind her artwork: “The large concentric circle in the middle represents the heart of the Queanbeyan Blues players, supporting each other and feeling valued for who they are and the different abilities and cultures they have. It also shows them striving together for equality and better futures in their journey towards reconciliation.
“The blue dots represent the supporters of the Queanbeyan Blues Sports Club celebrating the richness and diversity within the Queanbeyan Blues family.
“The travelling lines represent the energy and spirit the Queanbeyan Blues players provide on the field and for their supporters. The small concentric circles represent positive pathways where you set goals. Each goal you set in life, you will gain strength to challenge yourself a little more. The more goals you set in life, the more self-respect will grow.
“The white dots represent the importance of acknowledging our ancestors who walk among us, guiding us always in our journey in life.”
The jumpers added significant meaning for the players and sponsors who supported the Indigenous round. “Everyone loved the jumpers and I received a lot of great feedback,” Kristie says. “This experience has been absolutely fun and truly rewarding and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”
The Blues field five teams in the senior competitions and all took the field on the same day. With first-grade captain Terry Campese out with injury, Jake Wheeler led his players to an important 16-12 win that held the side’s place in the top four of the Canberra Raiders Cup competition.
Indigenous players and support staff play a big part in the Queanbeyan Blues, including Wheeler at centre, second-rower and Queanbeyan junior Michael Cullen, halfback Jordan Williams, second-rower/centre Jack Williams and fullback Matty Parsons.
The Blues’ reserve grade, U19s, women’s tag and women’s tackle sides are also a strong chance of playing in the finals too.
Captain of the women’s league tag side Emma White said there is a strong focus on bringing the club together and the indigenous jumpers played a significant part.
“A lot of players came out from injury to put the jumpers on and support the club. I’ve never seen so many social media posts from the boys after the games,” Emma said.