UniSC Thunder player, Brianna Martyn has been selected in Netball Australia’s inaugural First Nations national invitational team.

The team will showcase 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander netballers from across Australia as they compete at this year’s Pacific Netball Series, taking place between June 10 to 15 at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena.

The formation of the First Nations national invitational team aims to provide equitable and accelerated opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander netballers, informed by netball’s commitment to increase representation and retention of First Nations netballers within the high performance pathway.

Athletes were invited into the inaugural team based on their experience in national high-performance pathway programs.

Invitations were led by Netball Australia’s Chair of Selections, Michelle Wilkins, in conjunction with Netball Australia’s Head Coach, Pathway, Anita Keelan and Netball Australia’s First Nations Engagement Lead, Ali Tucker-Munro.

“I am delighted about the establishment of Netball Australia’s inaugural First Nations national invitational team,” Tucker-Munro said.

“It’s not just a pivotal moment for our sport. It’s a pivotal moment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander netballers across the country.

“For the first time ever, we’ll finally see 12 of our most talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander netballers from across Australia, netballers who are currently within our high-performance pathway, come together to compete as one.”

Tucker-Munro reflected on her personal netball journey to explain the significance of the introduction of the First Nations national invitational team.

“As a proud Kamilaroi woman and former Australian Diamonds squad member, it gives me such joy thinking about what this opportunity would have meant to past Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players like me, who would have loved the opportunity to be a part of something special like this,” she added.

“Our talented and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes will now have a wonderful platform in which they can represent their culture, their family, and their communities with pride.

“I know these talented athletes will grab this opportunity with two hands, and I cannot wait to see them showcase their talent and skills at the Pacific Netball Series in June.”

The invited 12 athletes are currently involved in high performance pathway programs within their respective states and territories, and at the national level.

The team comprises a mix of current Netball Australia talent, previous underage national squad members and current state representatives.

Included in the inaugural team is Biripi athlete and midcourter Courtney Jones who commenced her netball journey at the age of six.

A current New South Wales Premier League representative with South Coast Blaze, Jones expressed her enthusiasm to be part of such a significant moment and initiative.

“It is a privilege to have been invited to be in this First Nations side,” she said.

“It is very exciting to have a bunch of girls from all over Australia representing their own countries, to be brought together and playing as one.

“It’s a different, empowering feeling when being around and playing alongside other First Nations women, so I am very keen to take the court with them and showcase what we can do.”

Jones will play alongside West Australian goaler Jamaica Jauncey who has grown up playing netball with sister Scarlet Jauncey, another invitee in the inaugural First Nations national invitational team.

“As a proud Yawuru woman from Broome, I feel it’s a privilege to be able to represent my family and where I come from,” Jamaica said.

Growing up playing netball there is so much junior Indigenous talent out there that doesn’t seem to move to senior level, so having this opportunity is amazing and emotional.

“I’m hoping to build strong long-lasting relationships with my sisters from across the country while representing our people and being strong role models for the next generation of talent.”

The inaugural team will come together in the week of the 2024 Pacific Netball Series and be led by a collective First Nations coaching group to be announced in the coming weeks.


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