Former Australian Diamonds player Sharon Finnan-White has made a proposition for the Super Netball competition to introduce an all-Indigenous side.
Blak talent is found throughout many sports in Australia, except for netball, with Jemma Mi Mi currently being the only Indigenous Super Netball player.
“I hope to still be a role model to young Indigenous kids out there who love sport and one day want to play at the elite level”
We love that Jemma Mi Mi re-signed for 2022.
And that she’s inspiring more indigenous players to play @SuperNetball
— Queensland Firebirds (@FirebirdsQld) October 6, 2021
Finnan-White is a proud Dunghutti and Gumbaynggirr woman and is only one of two Indigenous netballers to play for the Diamonds.
Finnan-White’s most recent venture is channelling her energy into the Indigenous Diamonds Pathway Program.
Developed with Aunty Roma Pregarc, the team is comprised of players from Townsville, Far North Queensland, Brisbane and Palm Island, Alice Springs and Dubbo.
“After the Indigenous round when Jemma Mi Mi missed out, Aunty Roma contacted Liz Ellis to say she wanted to help,” Finnan-White said.
“We realised we wanted to set up an organisation to help create these pathways and mentor young girls in netball.
“Aunty Roma is a very experienced business leader and cultural Knowledge Holder. Her skill set, what she brings and I bring, we really combine really well together to create this program.”
The game-plan is for the Townsville team be a pilot program and to eventually lead into a Super Netball side.
“I know the hard work that goes into getting it up and running,” Finnan-White said.
“But if you don’t have the dream, you’re not going to make it happen.”
The players are promised exposure to a culturally safe space, access to elite coaching, strength and conditioning training and the support of nutritionists and sports psychologists.
“It’s hard enough for our non-Indigenous athletes to see something ahead of them at an SSN club, let alone our Indigenous girls,” Finnan-White said.
“If there’s no space for our non-Indigenous girls, there’s definitely no space for our Indigenous girls who aren’t getting through the pathway.
“So let’s create that space for them – let’s give them a beacon at the top of the pathway for them to aim to and aspire to.”
“But we’ve got to get it right at the levels below that as well.”
The expansion isn’t likely to happen any time soon, said Super Netball and Netball Australia boss Kelly Ryan.
“You have to increase your revenues to even remotely consider supporting another team,” Ryan said.
“Our revenue from a broadcast perspective is set for the next five years, so it would make it challenging to increase the competition – not impossible, mind you – in that period of time.”
The Townsville’s team is set to be entered into the premier league for next season.
By Teisha Cloos