A number of Western Bulldogs players have had their footy boots hand-painted by Indigenous artists as a way of further recognising Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
Bailey Smith, Tom Liberatore, Aaron Naughton and Bailey Dale are among those who will wear specially-designed boots, painted by none other than Kirby Bentley and Cooper Craig-Peters.
Bentley, a proud Noongar woman and Bulldogs’ VFLW head coach, went with a holistic one-club approach to her design, while Craig-Peters, a Wurundjeri-Yorta Yorta man and Footscray Bulldog, went with designs specific to the player.
“Because I don’t know the guys too well, I did a generic kind of message,” Bentley said.
“I make sure that the flag is represented on the side of the boots somewhere, and the four symbols on the side of the boots means ‘people’ – those represent each team we have at the Western Bulldogs.
“The six dots are the tribes, so it’s pretty much saying four teams, one club. That’s what we stand for.”
“I play with Charlie Parker through the VFL, and know the way he plays is very emu-ess, so I put on some emu footprints,” Craig-Peters explained.
“Caleb Daniel is pretty fundamental to the team – he’s great with connecting with his feet so his boots feature the river connecting to a lot of campsites.
“Aaron Naughton is in the air a lot, so I put boomerangs and some dotting on his to represent space, while Bailey Dale’s have kangaroo feet because he’s a powerful player. Cody Weightman’s have flags on the tip of the boots to represent the flag being freed.”
The Bulldogs’ match-worn Indigenous guernseys will be auctioned off following the game, with proceeds of sale going towards the Bulldogs’ Indigenous programs and Indigenous community programming.
Bentley also launched Gnalla, meaning ‘ours’ in Noongar, earlier this year - a design label that is ally friendly and promotes two-way dialogue. The clothing range and art can be found here.