Home Australia Australia launches inaugural First Nations team to compete on world stage at Brisbane tournament

Australia launches inaugural First Nations team to compete on world stage at Brisbane tournament

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The Malawi player looks to pass the ball

Netball Australia has announced the line-up of its inaugural First Nations team that will debut at the Pacific Aus Sports Netball Series in Brisbane.

Held from June 10 to 15, the team features 12 Aboriginal and Torres Islander athletes from across the country who will be able to test their skills against international talent.

The other competing nations have yet to be announced, but previous editions have included Netball World Cup teams such as Tonga, Fiji, Singapore and Malawi.

The initiative aims to provide visibility and recognition to First Nations talent in Australia. In the Pacific Aus Sports Series, the team will operate as a guest team, unable to earn international matches or World Netball points like their traveling opponent.

Tonga Tala faced the Malawi Queens in the Pacific Aus Sports Netball Series in April 2023, before playing them again months later at the World Cup in Cape Town.(Getty: Ashley Vlotman)

Hand-selected by Kamilaroi woman and First Nations participation leader Ali Tucker-Munro, along with the sporting body’s selections chair Michelle Wilkins and route head coach Anita Keelan, the players already identified in The routes were invited according to their level of experience.

“We wanted to create a space to showcase the incredible First Nations talent we have in this country, particularly those who are already in the high performance space,” Tucker-Munro told ABC Sport.

“It was really about identifying these children and giving them the opportunity to come together as First Nations women, where they could connect on a cultural level and learn from each other.

“There is a wide spectrum of players and we are looking at the caliber of athletes who are Super Netball training partners, those who went to the Australian National Championships last year, participated in underage teams or are playing in the top league of their respective countries.

“It speaks to the fact that there have been some surprising things [First Nations] “There are women who work hard week in and week out, trying to find an opportunity and we offer them that visibility and a unique opportunity to play against international teams that competed in the most recent World Cup.”

Ali Tucker-Munro sits next to Giants head coach Julie Fitzgerald at a game

Alison Tucker-Munro has worked closely with Australia’s most experienced Super Netball coach, Julie Fitzgerald, at the Giants Academy.(Getty: Jason McCawley)

Tucker-Munro, a former member of the Diamonds team, played in an earlier version of the national netball league for the Adelaide Ravens and Sydney Sandpipers.

After retiring, Tucker-Munro began coaching and held various positions in his home state of New South Wales, guiding the Giants Academy and First Nations All Stars.

In 2021, her work was recognized when she won the Margaret Corbett OAM Coach of the Year Award. Tucker-Munro coaches the inaugural UTS Randwick Sparks team in the NSW Premier League competition feeding the Swifts and Giants.

Three women, two netball players and their coach, hug each other and smile at the camera.

Tucker-Munro has coached Courtney Jones (right) at Sparks before.(ABC Sport: Brittany Carter)

“I would have loved the opportunity to play alongside my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sisters on a team,” Tucker-Munro said.

“To build and foster connections with such amazing, like-minded women, I would have loved it and I think that’s what’s integral to this.

“These players are not only connecting in a sporting sense, but also in a cultural sense as empowered First Nations women who are role models within their families and communities.

“I liken it to the All Stars concept we see in rugby league, which runs parallel to the existing pathway, where each year, players come together to fill their spiritual and cultural cups before returning to their regular NRL teams.”

Jauncey looks towards the goal with the ball in his hand.

WA star Jamaica Jauncey has been invited to the Australian First Nations team.(Supplied: Netball Australia)

Tucker-Munro began her role at Netball Australia in August 2023.

In March, he played a key role in helping them launch another initiative, the First Nations Training Course, designed to foster culturally safe spaces, promote opportunities for collaboration and offer support to Indigenous trainers in national and state settings.

The course runs for six months, from February to August, and addresses the decades-long inequality of First Nations high-performance coaches at the elite level.

These barriers have also been present in the meaning of the game, which was publicized across the country in the wake of the Jemma Mi Mi incident during the 2020 Super Netball season, as well as Netball Australia’s failure to protect the Diamonds debutant, Donnell Wallam, in the controversial Hancock Prospecting sponsorship saga. of 2022.

This new Australian First Nations team is part of netball’s Statement of Commitment to provide better support and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. A coach for the team has not yet been announced.

“Sometimes the only way to make a change is to go into the store and look for opportunities to influence, inform and drive change within,” Tucker-Munro said.

“We still have a long way to go as a sport, if anything this is just matching what other sports do at a national sporting level, with the NRL Indigenous All Stars and Cricket Australia’s Indigenous XI.

“So we’re just looking to create those same opportunities for women and girls in netball… The north star here is to nurture the next generation of stars, the next Black Diamond, so it’s going to take a collective mindset in all sport. At all levels.”

Australian First Nations Team 2024

Tully Bethune, Wiradjuri (Victoria)

Olivia Clark, Kamilaroi (ACT)

Lily Cubby, Murrawari (QLD)

Kiera Heffernan, Pintupi-Luritja and Arrente (NT)

Tegan Holland, Kamilaroi, New South Wales

Jamaica Jauncey, Yawuru (WA)

Scarlet Jauncey, Yawuru (WA)

Courtney Jones, Biripi, New South Wales

Brook Lacey, Ewamian (QLD)

Brianna Martyn, Kulilli (QLD)

Jayden Molo, Wunyi (QLD)

Aaleya Turner, Kaurna (SA)

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