Richmond's Korin Gamadji Institute (KGI) alumni, Chantelle Mitchell, says it will be a surreal moment when the players that she looks up to run out in her own designed jumper as the centre piece of the Club's AFLW Indigenous Round celebrations on Saturday.
Mitchell, a budding young Indigenous artist who has dreams to play in the AFLW, designed the Tigers' 2022 Indigenous and season-wide clash jumper in consultation with star midfielder Monique Conti and defender Sarah D'Arcy.
The Mildura local, who remains strongly tied with KGI through the Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leadership Healthy Program in town, said she only started painting as a hobby project.
"I have only been painting for two years after starting at school. I have had so many amazing opportunities with it, and it makes me and my family back home very proud," she added.
"I started up my art business for my pop who unfortunately died two years ago, and every project I do is for him."
Mitchell incorporated her Barkindji heritage throughout all the added patterns on the Richmond design, with women's strength symbolised adjacent to the sash and on the jumper's back.
"Monique really wanted the story (of the jumper) to be about a journey, and that stuck in my head for how it was going to go," Chantelle, who watched the Tigers play a VFLW Indigenous Round match against Essendon in 2018, explained.
"I remember watching them (in the VFLW in 2018), and they have now grown so much as a team and made their way into AFLW. They have grown and improved a lot, so I wanted to add that on."
The flowing nature of the artwork on the back of the jumper represents that 'journey,' namely of the Richmond's Women's team, but also of Women's footballers and the ever-expanding and improving AFLW competition as a whole.
Mitchell's own football journey has already been an eventful one, with the youngster required to make a 900km round-trip to train or play at the home base of the closest NAB League team to her, the Bendigo Pioneers, throughout her key talent pathway years.
The 21-year-old was one of four Indigenous girls that travelled from Mildura to play with the Pioneers last year, with each receiving support from KGI and Richmond.
"Me, Nalin Moore, Kaity Mitchell and Shelby Hooker have played a lot of football together and it is great to have a lot of support with us and to go through it all together," Chantelle Mitchell said.
"We all want to play AFLW one day and we all push each other to get there.
"Travelling from Bendigo every weekend for games is a big commitment from Mildura. We had help from Richmond and KGI on the weekends for our games. (They provided) Fuel cards, accommodation and food- it is a big help to allow us to be able to play football."
On the front of the jumper, within the Barkindji patterns that are now around its perimeter, remains the same sash as the Richmond 2021 Michelle Kerrin designed Indigenous guernsey.
"There was a lot of input from Mon and Sarah, and they wanted to keep the sash from last year, which was a great idea," Mitchell said.
The sash's inclusion marks the special connection within the Richmond playing group, the Club's first AFLW win and the cultural learning the players commenced together throughout 2021.
"Having that cultural learning in Indigenous Round, I think is a really important thing for us to have. It is a time where everyone comes together and celebrates Indigenous culture and the love of it all and family as well," Mitchell said.
AFLW Indigenous Guernsey
The 2022 Indigenous jumper is designed by KGI alumni Chantelle Mitchell in consultation with Monique Conti and Sarah D'Arcy.SHOP NOW