Nathan Blacklock in Cootamundra to watch Bulldogs take on Wagga Brothers

FROM LEFT: Bulldogs first grade players Dan Maher, Chris Maher, Coach and Captain Aaron Byrne, League Tag Captain Kristen Byrne, Renae Glanville and Madison Byrne.
FROM LEFT: Bulldogs first grade players Dan Maher, Chris Maher, Coach and Captain Aaron Byrne, League Tag Captain Kristen Byrne, Renae Glanville and Madison Byrne.

When the Cootamundra Bulldogs run out onto the ground on Saturday, they’ll be carrying the colours and totems of the Wiradjuri people on their shoulders.

Brand new jerseys have been designed for the Aboriginal Reconciliation matches, which will be played in front of a home crowd including local elders and specials guests League legend Nathan Blacklock and Cootamundra MP Steph Cook. 

Designer of the new jerseys, Sandy Kennedy, said she hopes the “spirit of our ancestors and the presence of our elders” will spur Coota on to victory against the Wagga Brothers. 

The former Hay Magpies player pitched the idea of the reconciliation match to the coordinator of the club late November last year.

After being given the go ahead she called on Paula Maher to team up with her to push the idea forward.

Ms Kennedy designed the uniforms in consultation with Cootamundra elder, Bob Glanville, whose two granddaughters coach the League Tag. 

Aboriginal Reconciliation Round organisers Paula Maher and Sandy Kennedy. Sandy also designed the jerseys.

Aboriginal Reconciliation Round organisers Paula Maher and Sandy Kennedy. Sandy also designed the jerseys.

“I thought the club should do something to honour its indigenous players, and to pay respects to women from the Cootamundra Girls Home here,” Ms Kennedy said. 

She said elders from Bimbadeen would be special guests at the match.

"With Cootamundra having such a haunting past I felt it necessary as an indigenous woman that we needed to bring something positive into the community and showcase our respect for the history of Cootamundra," Ms Kennedy said. 

"The front of the jerseys feature the Wiradjuri totem The "GUGAA" (goanna) tracks and the back of the jersey represents the totem of the Cootamundra area, the long neck turtle"

"I'm really excited to see the team showcasing the design on the day and extend my extreme gratitude to have "Uncle" Bob Granville take the time to come and give his Blessing on the day also." 

A legend of the game and indigenous mentor and role model, Nathan Blacklock will be in Cootamundra for the event.

Blacklock arrived in town on Thursday to have a run with the juniors and the senior players and will also tour the former Cootamundra Girls Home with Ms Kennedy.  

Even with custom designed uniforms and special guests in attendance for the occasion, the matches won’t be too friendly, according to club manager Jay Somers.

“The Brothers are ahead of us on the board at the moment, so we’ll be wanting to take away wins in all three games,” he said. 

As Coota doesn't have an U16s side and Brothers don't have an U18s side, Round 6 will just be the three games consisting of reserves, tag and first grade. 

The schedule for the day:

11.30am Reserve grade; 

12.45pm flag presentation by Stephanie Cook; 

1.05pm League Tag; 

2.10pm presentations and ceremonies;

2.45pm First grade.