Whole new ball game

The final two rounds of the 2023 Tasmanian Netball League (TNL) season recognised and acknowledged the indigenous culture and history of First Nations people, both in netball and the wider community.

All games across the weekend of 1-2 July used a custom indigenous ball designed by St Virgil’s College Pakana student Tjalan Langdon, featuring important imagery representing his indigenous ancestry and culture.

Netball Tasmania chief operating officer Mitch Coulson said it was important to incorporate and recognise Aboriginal Australians in a statewide female sporting league.

“The ball that Tjalan has created represents the great connection he has with his family and its indigenous background,” he said.

“We always want to do more to acknowledge the high number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who play netball in Tasmania.

“There is still more that we need to do to acknowledge the First Nation’s role in history in Tasmania and over the next few years it will hopefully keep growing.”

The weekend was also hugely important for the current season, as it was integral to shaping the finals series.

Before the round started Cripps Waratah co-captain Ash Probert-Hill said her side’s focus this season was on securing a premiership in front of a home crowd.

“Our goal last season was to reach the grand final but this year we are fully focused on winning,” she said.

“We know that our best form can compete with the best in the competition, and we feel confident heading into the final round.

“Any round that allows us to celebrate indigenous culture is a privilege to be a part of and helps us inspire the next generation of indigenous players.”

Cripps Waratah suffered a five-point loss to the Northern Hawks in their grand final rematch, while the Kingston Blues booked their finals ticket with a narrow win against Devon.

The Hawks finished the season on top of the ladder with an unbeaten record and faced the Cavaliers at the Silverdome on 8 July for a spot in the grand final. Cripps Waratah played the Kingston Blues in an elimination final on 7 July.

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