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Community & Business

31 July, 2023

Gilgandra Panthers Indigenous jersey: man behind the design

By Emily Middleton

Only recently making history with his design of the NRL West Tigers Indigenous round jersey, Gilgandra born and bred Will Towney is bringing his talent back home. Mr Towney has been commissioned to design the 2023 Gilgandra Panthers Indigenous jersey, for the club’s upcoming Indigenous round.

“The Gilgandra Panthers jersey is the second jersey I’ve ever created,” explained Mr Towney.

“Even though the NRL West Tigers design was on a national scale, this jersey design is just important to me because Gilgandra will always be my hometown, and I’m humbled to be asked to create this special jersey by one of my longtime mates, Curtis Carr.”

Mr Towney explained that after he was commis- sioned by Mr Carr, he received the colour palette to be used. The design is painted with acrylic paint on a stretched framed canvas, that Mr Towney will be bring- ing to the game later this month.

“He had given me the reigns to design something that would represent our community,” he explained.

“Within the design, I have incorporated the three nations that make up Gilgandra’s (Gilgandhuray- long water hole) Indigenous footprint. These are Wiradjuri (Sand Goanna), Kamilaroi (Red Kangaroo), and the lost tribe of the Wailwan people.

“The top section of the jersey has three meeting places that show connection of the three tribes, which have “U” shape symbols around them that symbolise its people.”

This year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘For Our Elders’, and Mr Towney explained that he wanted to show his respect for our storytellers and our knowledge holders.

“These people are the special people in our lives that have made us who we are today, they are our strength, our safe place, and our purpose through their own strug- gles to create a better future for our emerging leaders.”

Mr Towney said that on the left sleeve, he has paid his respects to both “MOB PAST & PRESENT”.

“Our community has lost so many loved ones, lead- ers, knowledge holders, and friends over the years, so this round should be about everyone who has passed into the Dreamtime and those here today.”

For Mr Towney, an Indigenous round of footy is more than just an acknowledgement. He says it’s an opportunity to have everyone coming together to cele- brate Australia’s First Nations history.

“Our culture, our athletic abilities, and our contribu- tion to our local communities. It’s an opportunity for our people to play for everything they love and stand for with the support from our non-Indigenous teammates and spectators who we call friends and family.”

In regard to the West Tigers Indigenous round jersey design, Mr Towney spoke of what it meant for him to be commissioned. He explained that it was the round that made club history, defeating North Queensland Cowboys 66 to 18 at Leichhardt Oval.

“It was the West Tigers most points in a game, fourth highest ever winning margin, most tries in a game, most goals kicked in a single game, Luke Brooks’ 200th game milestone, with good mate and Indigenous Rookie Jahream Bula representing our culture with a stella per- formance,” said Mr Towney.

“To have my design on this jersey whilst having my eldest boy, Uziah with me at the game was truly some- thing special.” 

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