The story behind the creation of Collingwood’s 2019 Indigenous jumper belongs to Travis Varcoe and his family.
The design tells of how friends, Collingwood and the broader football community wrapped themselves around the Varcoe family following the death last year of Travis’ sister, Maggie Varcoe.
Maggie passed away in September 2018, several days after being injured in an on-field collision. Travis wore his sister’s name on his arm as he played through the finals that followed.
The story has been re-told through the art of Lee-Anne Miller, sister of Travis’s partner, Kim.
“The way the club supported me and my family last year, through that time when my sister passed, is what inspired it,” Varcoe explained.
“I think it’s beautiful. For the way it looks and for the meaning behind it.
“There are four layers to it. The inner circle represents the players I’m surrounded by every day. The next circle of dots is all of the people outside of the playing group who support us and enable us to perform at our best, especially in tough times.
“The circle outside of that is for the friends and family we rely on so heavily for their love and support and then there is the fans and the Collingwood community who glue it all together.
“It brings together all of the elements of being a Collingwood person and acknowledges them for their support in good times and bad.”
The Indigenous jumper will be worn for the first time tonight, against Sydney at the SCG, and back in Melbourne before a Collingwood home crowd in round 11 when the Magpies play Fremantle at the MCG.
Varcoe told in detail the story of the design in a short film that was shown for the first time to his team-mates in Sydney this morning. The film can be seen on collingwoodfc.com.au.
Unfortunately unable to play against the Swans due to a one-match suspension, Varcoe flew to Sydney to share with them the opening to Sir Doug Nicholls round, which honours and celebrates the contribution of our nation’s First People to Australian football.
Collingwood will further honour Sir Doug Nicholls round and National Reconciliation Week, which commences next Monday, with the launch of its Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan.
A three-year commitment to action, the Stretch RAP will be launched at the club next Thursday following a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony on the club’s Holden Centre training oval.
The premise underpinning this year’s NRW, which is entitled ‘Grounded In Truth: Walk Together With Courage’, is that for reconciliation to occur the relationship between broader Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples must be grounded in truth.
To know more about National Reconciliation Week, follow the link below.
Players, coaches and staff from Collingwood and Sydney will be linking arms after the final siren tonight to call, as one, for an end to racism and the creation of a more inclusive society.