10 May 2023

Cowboys have the Mapoon touch

| Matt Nicholls
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Mapoon boarders Narzaliah Doolah and Elianah Tabuai wear their polo shirts with pride.

THE North Queensland Cowboys will later this year run out in Indigenous jerseys designed by Mapoon artist Magaret Mara.

She has also designed the polo shirts for students at NRL Cowboys House in Townsville.

Margaret’s unique My Journey My Way design will feature on this year’s Cowboys jersey in the NRL’s Indigenous Round for the clash with the Panthers on Friday, May 27 in Penrith.

The design represents strong connections to land and sea and is described by the artist as a celebration of the journey Indigenous peoples embark on from the moment they are born to the time they become the ancestors guiding their peoples.

Based in Mapoon, Margaret is a mother of nine and grandmother of 11 with two children in their senior year at NRL Cowboys House.

Fittingly, NRL Cowboys House students were the first to welcome this season’s design, receiving their official polo shirts featuring Margaret’s commissioned artwork last month.

The presentation of the shirts was the students’ first opportunity to learn the special powerful meaning behind the custom design and continues an annual tradition for NRL Cowboys House.

NRL Cowboys House general manager Rochelle Jones said the official shirt presentation is one of the most important dates on the House calendar.

“Seeing our students and staff wearing the new shirt brings such pride and unites us all as one, and having Margaret design the shirt adds a special touch,” she said.

“Margaret holds a special piece of NRL Cowboys House in her heart and to have her design on the shirts reflects our focus on family, community and cultural connection. It’s also a very popular item with our House partners and supporters and is a strong symbol of their commitment to our students and reducing distance as a barrier to education.

“Everyone looks forward to receiving their shirt and it’s a fantastic way to start our year.”

Students will also have the opportunity to earn a special singlet version of the shirt as a reward through the House’s Cowboys Dollars program.

Margaret said accepting the phone call to commission her as the artist for the Indigenous design “blew her mind”.

“Seeing the Cowboys running out on the field wearing the jersey with my design will be like my artwork coming to life, my storytelling itself to all watching,” she said.

“I will feel very proud as an Indigenous artist to be associated with a team that is very involved in the education of our youth.

“It’s also special because of my positive experiences with NRL Cowboys House as my two daughters currently board there, and also being involved with the primary school in Mapoon and seeing firsthand the positive impact the Cowboys have on our students through the Try for 5 program.

“My daughters Larnie and Rahu have always been very supportive of my art … growing up seeing me painting all the time and at times ‘adding’ their own little touches to my work.

“It makes me feel so very special to know that they are proud to wear NRL Cowboys House shirts with their mum’s design on it, and I hope it will be a constant reminder to continue to be positive and determined to reach their goals.”

The 2022 Cowboys Indigenous jersey will be launched closer to Round 12 and will be on sale through the Cowboys Team Shop.

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