Uncle Joe produces another deadly Rabbitohs jersey

INDIGENOUS Maclean artist Uncle Joe Walker has made his mark on the nation once again after designing the South Sydney Rabbitohs dreamtime jersey for 2020.

Uncle Joe Walker and Avery Brown were at the Grafton Ghosts Rugby League Club 50th anniversary dinner at the Grafton District Services Club in 2013. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Uncle Joe Walker and Avery Brown were at the Grafton Ghosts Rugby League Club 50th anniversary dinner at the Grafton District Services Club in 2013. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner

Uncle to former Casino Cougar and now South Sydney star Cody Walker, Uncle Joe has been a part of the design process since for more than four years.

Uncle Joe was born in Casino and raised on Tabulam Aboriginal Reserve.

"I am a proud Wahlabul Man from the Bundjalung Nation," Walker said.

South Sydney Rabbitoh Latrell Mitchell shows off the club's 2020 Indigenous jersey, designed by Indigenous Maclean artist, Uncle Joe Walker.
South Sydney Rabbitoh Latrell Mitchell shows off the club's 2020 Indigenous jersey, designed by Indigenous Maclean artist, Uncle Joe Walker.

When first designing the South Sydney jersey, Walker wanted to connect all of the talented Indigenous stars at the club with one design.

"I focus on the Rabbitoh in the middle and connect them with each player's totem. That's a big gathering place for them to come and play for the wonderful side," he said.

This year's design, set on a white jersey, features Torres Straight Islander and Aboriginal flag colours on the sleeve and incorporates the totem animal of each player's heritage.

The Indigenous culture has been a part of our Club’s fabric for over a century, watch the story behind the Rabbitohs 2020 Indigenous Jersey! 🖤💛❤️🐇 #GoRabbitohs #OldestProudestLoudest

Posted by South Sydney Rabbitohs on Wednesday, 22 July 2020

 

Uncle Joe's nephew Cody Walker said it was good to be a part of the process.

"Here at South Sydney we get to have an input into the design of the jersey," Cody said.

"What I think is great about the jersey is so many boys from different backgrounds across Australia are all connected through that bunny."

Cody Walker of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the round 11 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium on July 25. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Cody Walker of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the round 11 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium on July 25. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

South Sydney has featured some of the best Indigenous stars in the game, including Cody, Dane Gagai, Greg Inglis and most recently, Latrell Mitchell.

"We've had a great representation of Aboriginal players that have played for South Sydney over the years," Cody said.

"Greg Inglis was a huge figure in our game, I really admired Dean Widders, who actually played for the club then went into the community and coached in Redfern. He's still a part of the local community today."

INDIGENOUS ROUND 2019: Cody Walker and Dane Gagai of the Rabbitohs embrace following their win over the Tigers in the Round 11 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, May 25, 2019. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
INDIGENOUS ROUND 2019: Cody Walker and Dane Gagai of the Rabbitohs embrace following their win over the Tigers in the Round 11 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, May 25, 2019. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY DAN HIMBRECHTS

Cody said it was an honour to wear the jersey for Indigenous round and hoped the tradition could carry on for many years to come.

"We're just caretakers of the jersey at the moment hoping we can leave our legacy at the club as well," he said.

The Rabbitohs will wear the jersey as part of Indigenous Round on Thursday night against St George Illawarra Dragons at Jubilee Stadium in Wollongong.

Uncle Joe's son, also named Cody Walker, played a part in the NSW Waratahs Super Rugby side last season but struggled to break into the first team as he plied his trade for the NSW Country Eagles.