When the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles run out onto Suncorp Stadium for Indigenous Round this Saturday night, Jakeob Watson won't be able to hide his smile.
The 27-year-old from Maitland is the proud designer of the Indigenous jersey the Manly players will wear against the Brisbane Broncos as part of the NRL's annual Indigenous Round.
Since being launched last month, the jersey has proven very popular with not only the Manly players but plenty of supporters who have been keen to secure the jersey.
"The response to the design, from not only the Indigenous community, but the wider community in general, has been pretty amazing,'' Jakeob said.
Jakeob, who grew up in Maitland but has family ties in Werris Creek (Gomeror country) near Tamworth, said he had always been interested in art from a young age.
"I didn't grow up in a heavy Aboriginal community. I always knew I was Indigenous and had a connection to art,'' he said.
"It was until around 2009 that I got into art pretty heavily.
"I've never had art lessons, except from my art teacher in high school, so I've basically taught myself."
Jakeob and his fiancé, Kiara, and their five children, were at Sea Eagles training today to take the players through the cultural meaning of the jersey.
"Culture means everything to me and my family. Our kids share on it too,'' Jakeob said.
"Every painting I do, they do a couple of little dots or line work. It teaches them about who we are representing."
Sea Eagles supporters attending the match against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium will be able to purchase the Indigenous jersey at the merchandise outlets.
Here is Jakeob's overview of the cultural significance behind the jersey.
'This painting represents the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles club and all their supporters.
The 15 white circles represent each of the other clubs within the NRL and the connecting lines show the paths travelled to and from these towns for games.
The circle on the bottom right represents the playing group coming together and getting ready to fight alongside one another every week, the top right circle represents the family's partners and children of the players and the one on the left is the supporters group, and then you have the sea eagle always flying over watching everyone along the way and protecting them and making sure they are ok.'
Match: Sea Eagles v Broncos
Round 10 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS