Ex-Port Adelaide and Central District player proud to design club guernsey for SFL Reconciliation Round

Ironbank Cherry Gardens players in the Reconciliation Round guernseys, from left, Bradley Kreuger, Olivia Walker-Obushak, Chris Morgan, Gabrielle Maknis, guernsey designer Elijah Ware, Josie Harris, Mitchell Davis and Matthew Kreuger. Photo: Abi Weir Photography

May 31, 2024

As Ironbank Cherry Gardens football coach Elijah Ware prepares his team to take to the field for this weekend’s Southern Football League (SFL) match against the Morphett Vale Emus, it means more than any other game this season.

This match holds profound significance for the former Port Adelaide AFL and Central District SANFL player as it marks Reconciliation Round – an event of immense importance for both the team and the community.

Across the weekend, all 10 SFL clubs in the men’s and women’s senior A grade will commemorate the round by wearing Indigenous guernseys.

In its first year competing in the SFL, Ironbank Cherry Gardens will celebrate First Nations culture by donning the new specially-designed guernsey adorned with artwork crafted by Ware.

Ware, a proud Wirangu Mirning person said:

“The design of the strip draws inspiration from the football club’s journey over the past two years. Despite the challenges faced, we are poised for significant progress as we transition to the Southern Football League.

“In this design, the hands inside the circle represent our club community. The blue and white dots are a nod to last year and reminding us of the importance of recognising the players who’ve been part of our club’s history, both past and present.

“The wavy tracks leading southward depict our club’s journey to play football in the Southern Football League, while the stars signify our past premierships. The lightning bolt embodies our team brand – the mighty Thunderers – and the radiant sun represents the beauty and positivity at our club, where the sun always shines.

“This is my second time designing an Indigenous round guernseys for the club. While I don’t have an extensive background in art, I’m working on it. My grandmother, Mary Ware, was an incredible artist, and I like to think I’ve inherited some of her talent.

“I think it’s uplifting to celebrate our culture in a positive light and have our whole club involved. The recognition and support for the round fosters a welcoming environment within the club, where individuals from all backgrounds can freely participate and be themselves.”


Bradley Kreuger, left, and Matthew Kreuger show Ironbank Cherry Garden FC’s Reconciliation Round guernsey. Photo: Abi Weir

The SFL will commemorate Reconciliation Round with Welcome to Country ceremonies before every match this weekend, as well as a smoking ceremony at Aldinga, which all clubs are invited to attend.

All five match day ovals also will be painted with the Aboriginal flag, and Aboriginal flags have been supplied to all clubs for permanent use.

Ironbank Cherry Gardens Football Club Vice President Don Watton said the club’s activities in SFL Reconciliation Round were supported this year by Origin Energy, including funding to produce the Indigenous guernseys.

“Recognising and honouring the Indigenous culture and its participants fosters acceptance and multicultural well-being within both the community and the club. Ultimately, this contributes to enhancing the overall liveability within the region,” Watton said.


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