St Kilda has rightful claim to the status of 'trail-blazer' when it comes to Indigenous footballers.
As of 2023, 33 Indigenous men and women have represented the red, white and black, with their incredible talent and ability to excite at the forefront of their careers.
The very first indigenous footballer to line up for St Kilda was James "Jim" Wandin in 1952.
Wandin was a senior figure in the Victorian indigenous community at the time as the ngurungaeta (head man) of the Wurundjeri people.
He played just 17 games over two seasons as the 12th Aboriginal player to play at VFL level in the first 55 years of the league.
Graeme 'Gypsy' Lee was the next Indigenous player to represent the Saints with 18 matches between 1961-62, before Robert Muir burst onto the scene in the mid-1970s.
Known mainly for his firebrand style, Muir’s immense talent is often forgotten. He played just 68 games for the Saints but played with a distinct flair that made him a fan favourite at Moorabbin.
Throughout his playing career, Muir was subjected to frequent racial slurs and abuse as one of the only Indigenous stars in the VFL at the time, and in 2020 revealed to the ABC the ongoing mental health battles and scars that had persisted throughout his life as a result of these traumas.
In 2022, Muir and his family returned to Moorabbin and was formally acknowledged at the club's Round 20 game against Hawthorn as the club continues its journey - or yawa - towards true reconciliation.
The 1980s and early 1990s saw St Kilda lead the way with recruiting Indigenous footballers.
Phil Narkle, Russell Jeffrey, Greg and Gilbert McAdam, Bob Jones, Jim Krakouer and Dale Kickett all represented the Saints, who had the second-best Indigenous representation of the time behind West Coast.
But none were as extraordinary as Nicky Winmar.
The boy from Pingelly left an inspiring legacy across his 12 seasons at Moorabbin, playing 230 games for the red, white and black and becoming the first ever Indigenous player to reach the prestigious 200-game milestone.
But it is Winmar’s stand against racial vilification in 1993 that defined his career, with his proud gesture immortalised in Australian sporting history; its significance to a nation and a people unparalleled.
Today, the club's rich indigenous legacy continues through Jade Gresham, Ben Long, Paddy Ryder and Bradley Hill, each enriching the Saints with their proud culture and aptitude for the unbelievable.
In 2021, St Kilda proudly wore an Indigenous guernsey designed by Winmar across Sir Doug Nicholls Round. The moment coincided the Winmar-led documentary, The Ripple Effect, and affiliated program Point + Be Proud, which aims to educate the community about the ongoing impacts of racism on Indigenous mental health and wellbeing.
Inspired by Winmar’s famous stand against racism in 1993 at Victoria Park, The Ripple Effect – produced by St Kilda Football Club in partnership with Dickson Films and VicHealth and led by St Kilda Indigenous Liaison Officer Nathan Lovett-Murray – delves into racism in Australia through the eyes of the nation’s most prominent and inspiring athletes of colour.
Season 2022 saw St Kilda feature nine Indigenous players on its playing list, with seven of those – Bradley Hill, Paddy Ryder, Jade Gresham, Ben Long, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Marcus Windhager and Jarrod Lienert – taking to the field in Round 4 against Hawthorn in a 149-year first for the club.
Later that year, 17-year-old Warlpiri/Warumungu woman J'Noemi Andersdon made history as St Kilda's first ever Indigenous women's player.
Anderson was presented St Kilda’s distinguished No. 7 guernsey made famous by proud Noongar man Nicky Winmar, with the club great presenting Anderson the jumper when she first arrived at Moorabbin.
St Kilda's Indigenous Senior Players
James "Jim" Wandin 1952-53
Graeme "Gypsy" Lee 1961-62
Robert Muir 1974-80
Eric Clarke 1980
Phil Narkle 1984-86
Greg McAdam 1985
Nicky Winmar 1987-98
Russell Jeffrey 1987-91
Bob Jones 1988-89
Jim Krakouer 1990-91
Gilbert McAdam 1991-93
Dale Kickett 1992
Gavin Mitchell 1998-2000
Sean Charles 2000
Freddie Campbell 2000
Xavier Clarke 2002-08
Allan Murray 2003-06
Raphael Clarke 2004-12
Nicholas Winmar 2010-12
Terry Milera 2012-14
Jade Gresham 2016-2023
Ben Long 2017-2022
Koby Stevens 2017-2018
Matthew Parker 2019-2020
Robbie Young 2019
Paddy Ryder 2020-2022
Bradley Hill 2020-
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera 2022-
Jarrod Lienert 2022
Marcus Windhager 2022-
J'Noemi Anderson 2022 -
Jack Peris 2023
Natalie Plane 2023 -