Celebrating indigenous netball

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THIS weekend’s round of the ANZ Championship will see the Adelaide Thunderbirds and West Coast Fever celebrate the participation of Indigenous Australians in netball by wearing specially-designed dresses.

The indigenous match will be played at Adelaide’s Netball SA Stadium on Saturday afternoon and the two club’s dresses have been designed by Indigenous artists.

Port Lincoln High student Margaret Goldsmith’s design was chosen by the Thunderbirds.  It incorporates kangaroo tracks and white circles that represent cultural meeting places.

The passionate netballer – who cites Thunderbirds goal shooter Carla Borrego as her hero – said she spent hours creating the perfect design. She said the kangaroo tracks represent a midcourter’s agility while the white circles represent other players on court.

Goldsmith is thrilled that her design was selected as the winning entry in the competition run by the South Australian Aboriginal Sports training Academy (SAASTA).

“I was excited when I heard that I had won because I didn’t think I would,” she said.

“I did my design heaps of times and I think my teacher was getting mad at me (because of my perfectionism).”

Fever’s dress has been designed by Noongar artist Peter Farmer and niece Kylie Graham. The players will also wear the dress for the final home game of the regular season on Monday, 2 June against the Central Pulse.

Farmer said the dress design has been split into two sections. The top has seven circular symbols that represent the `coming together’ as well as water.

The bottom section has 12 symbols that represent females in Aboriginal culture.

Fever defender Josie Janz, who is of Torres Strait Island descent, said the dress design honours and respects Aboriginal heritage.

“The dress itself has plenty of meaning, from the 12 women’s symbols at the bottom to reflect the whole squad to the seven circles across the chest to represent the girls on court,” Janz said.

“I think it’s great that we have the Acknowledgement to Country at the start of all games, and to join the Thunderbirds in having a specially designed dress is a great nod to our rich culture.”

The Fever players were presented with their dresses during the week by a junior Aboriginal team known as `The Sapphires’ who play for the Morley and Districts Netball Club at the Noranda Netball Association, located in Perth’s northern suburbs.

Aboriginal elder Aunty Janet Hayden blessed the dresses ahead of Saturday’s game in Adelaide.

As part of the activities surrounding the day, a curtain raiser netball match will be played featuring representatives of the SAASTA and SA Nunga Netball (SANN).

_DMC0179LiThe coaches of both sides Amy Bassani (SAASTA) and Kelly Wilson (SANN) will choose a best player from the opposition, who will be presented to the crowd at three-quarter time of the ANZ Championship match.

Youngsters from the SA Nunga Netball will also be showcased at half-time through NetSetGo activities on court. They’ll also accompany players from both teams onto the court prior to the match.

A Welcome to Country will be performed by Robert Taylor from the Kumakarro Dance Troupe.

Doors open at Netball SA Stadium at 11.45am, local time with the curtain raiser starting at 12.05pm, local time. The Thunderbirds-Fever game will get underway at 1.48pm, local time.

The match will be replayed on free-to-air channel NITV next Tuesday 6 May in their regular 10pm timeslot of ANZ Championship matches.