Proud Wiradjuri man Stewart James was humbled to be asked to design the 2024 Indigenous guernsey, with the cousin of defender Zac Williams taking the challenge in his stride. 

Producing a piece of art that would be meaningful, tell a story, represent Carlton, his culture and be aesthetically pleasing were all the moving pieces James had to align.

But, the result was well worth the journey. 

James ensured he learnt as much about the Club and its rich history before embarking on the design, weaving in elements from Wiradjuri culture and the totems of the three AFL Indigenous players in Williams, Jack Martin and Jesse Motlop. 


“I was very nervous, it was a bit of a challenge taking this project on – with such a proud history in the Club, it was something I wanted to make sure I got right and did well,” James admitted. 

“[I wanted] to not only honour my cultural obligations but also to honour the Club and the fans and the players that will wear it. 

“To have the combination of good design and aesthetically so people can enjoy the look of it and all that, but obviously there’s a deeper meaning.”

A New South Wales native, James was very excited to see that Carlton would be travelling to his home state for the first instalment of Sir Doug Nicholls Round, with the second game taking place in Melbourne. 

Stepping onto the SCG for the first time on Thursday, James felt privileged and extremely nervous when he saw the coaching staff roll in wearing his design on hoodies and hats. 


“It’s a privilege not only to be a part of the Club but to stand here on the SCG, my first time being here ever, pretty special moment,” he said. 

“I said to Zac on the phone that when I came here, I wanted to honour the opportunity and when I see the players, the coaches and the staff [wearing the design], I feel nervous for good reasons, because I want to make sure I did a good job.”

Knowing Williams since he was young, James is immensely proud of the journey he has been on through his AFL career and personal life, noting his entire community has nothing but pride for the 29-year-old. 

Seeing how excited the defender is to wear a guernsey so close to his heart signifies to James that he’s done his job well. 


“I think for Zac, he’s been in the system since he was young and his community is very proud of him,” he said.  

“To be able to do this and support his journey is special, but I know it’s special for him and I can see that and I can feel the passion coming through in conversations. 

“I can see the little kid that loved playing football is still in him and even now he’s a veteran of the game, he’s still plays with that same spark.

“ I can see in a couple of quick conversations he’s in a good mood – if I can help that, then my job is done.”