Jade Gresham follows a long list of indigenous footballers to play for St Kilda, and in honour of the Sir Doug Nicholls round, the 20-year-old will wear the symbols of his Yorta Yorta people when he runs out on Saturday night.

The Saints will wear an indigenous jumper designed in part by Gresham and his mother Michelle, while Gresham will also wear a new pair of boots with a hand-painted indigenous design.

Tamara Murray, the cousin of St Kilda’s ex-player and currently Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Program Manager, Allan Murray, is an aboriginal artist based in Albury, NSW, and was charged with designing and painting the boots.

Tamara’s intricate design draws inspiration from the long-neck turtle, a traditional symbol of the Yorta Yorta people, as well as the red, white and black of the Saints.

As a football club, St Kilda’s indigenous heritage is richer than most.

WATCH: Allan Murray shares his story

When Wurundjeri man Jim Wandin ran out onto Junction Oval in 1952, he became only the 10th aboriginal footballer to play VFL/AFL.

22 years later, Robert Muir lit up Moorabbin Oval with his immense talent and trademark flair, but frequent racial slurs meant his infamous temper got the better of his VFL career, and he departed the Saints after just 68 games.

A host of indigenous footballers made their way through St Kilda’s doors throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

“While it is popular mythology that Essendon opened the metaphorical doors to indigenous footballers, St Kilda was leading the way well before Essendon embraced the notion,” wrote St Kilda historian Russell Holmesby.

The Saints have progressive recruiting to thank for their veritable legion of indigenous star players throughout that period.

Phil Narkle, Russell Jeffrey, Greg and Gilbert McAdam, Nicky Winmar, Bob Jones, Jim Krakouer and Dale Kickett all represented the Saints, which had the second best indigenous representation of the time behind West Coast.

Cover stars Dale Kickett, Gilbert McAdam and Nicky Winmar.

Championed by John Beveridge and John King (an aboriginal himself), St Kilda went about recruiting the best young indigenous stars in the country.

“John King was the one who got Nicky (Winmar) to come to the Saints,” said Holmesby.

“Nicky was overlooked by West Coast, and ‘Kingy’ actually knew all these blokes, being aboriginal himself, so he knew their capabilities.”

The Saints have enjoyed a near-constant representation of Indigenous Australians within their ranks since then, with three players of indigenous heritage currently on their list in Jade Gresham, Ben Long and Koby Stevens.


James “Jim” Wandin 1952-53
Robert Muir 1974-80
Eric Clarke 1975-76
Garry Barry 1983-85
Ian Barry 1983-85
Dennis Dunne 1984
Phil Narkle 1984-86
Greg McAdam 1985
Nicky Winmar 1987-94
Russell Jeffrey 1987-88
Bob Jones 1988-89
Jim Krakouer 1990-91
Gilbert McAdam 1991-93
Dale Kickett 1991-92
Gavin Mitchell 1998-2000
Sean Charles 1999-2000
Freddie Campbell 2000-01
Xavier Clarke 2002-08
Allan Murray 2003-06
Raphael Clarke 2004-12
Ross Tungatalum 2009
Nicholas Winmar 2010-12
Terry Milera 2012-14
Jade Gresham 2016-
Ben Long 2017-
Koby Stevens 2017-