The Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers will play in an Indigenous Match to celebrate culture at Lilac Hill Park on Sunday, with both teams wearing a special Indigenous playing shirt.
Teams will come together pre-match for a Barefoot Circle and Welcome to Country ceremony to acknowledge and pay respects to the traditional owners of the land, Indigenous culture, and demonstrate commitment to reconciliation and ongoing education.
These acknowledgments will continue with a full Indigenous Round later in the season.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Muruwari woman and Sixers player Ashleigh Gardner said it’s been a long time coming and the Indigenous shirt designs are a great opportunity for deeper understanding.
“Obviously being an Indigenous person, this has been something that I’ve been longing for, for seven seasons now,” she said.
“It’s something that I’m obviously super passionate about, being a proud Indigenous woman.
“It’s something that I think is really important for people to, I guess, educate themselves about the culture, about the issues that indigenous people face day-to-day.
“But I think it’s just a fantastic educational piece for people to learn more and just to understand the cultural from a deeper perspective.”
While celebrating culture all year round is something people should be doing, Gardner says now is “just a perfect time to highlight that.”
“I think that’s the thing that I try and tell people the most is to get more educated in these spaces because the more educated people are the more that they know and then I guess the less silly questions they might ask down the track.”
Indigenous playing shirts
Launched on Friday, the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers teams will wear their Indigenous playing shirts for this Indigenous Match and through the WBBL|07 Indigenous Round.
Jade Dolman, an Aboriginal artist with Whadjuk/Ballardong, Eastern Arrernte heritage, designed the Perth Scorchers Indigenous playing shirt.
She said the focus of her design is around the water, which is “significant to our culture and to the landscape, especially at the WACA Ground and in Perth.”
“The background of the design represents the resilience of water through flow and adaptability.
“In the foreground, there are concentric circles that represent the ripple effects of new opportunities and connections.”
“The artwork is inspired by the way that we resemble water, especially going through the pandemic, how we’ve been able to change constantly to come out better and stronger.”
Scorchers captain Sophie Devine said it’s a “huge honour” to wear the design and “represent the indigenous culture on this shirt.”
“Even though I’m a Kiwi, I absolutely love being able to represent the culture of where I am playing.
“I know the girls are really honoured to wear it. We’ve obviously had a bit of communication, a bit of education as well, which I think is incredibly important, too.”
The Sydney Sixers playing shirt, which symbolises the connection of the Sixers community, was designed by Jordan Adler, a Sydney-based Bidjigal woman, in close collaboration with Sixers Indigenous players Ashleigh Gardner (Muruwari) and Dan Christian (Wiradjuri).
Gardner explains how she and Wiradjuri man Christian are represented in the design.
“Myself and Dan Christian, being the two indigenous players in the female and male side, so there’s a little note for my tribe, which is the sand goanna, which is my totem.
“And then basically the three rivers that run through the middle of the jersey here are Dan’s tribe, the Wiradjuri tribe.
“And then the main meeting place in the middle being the SCG, being our home ground.
“Then all different meeting places around the jersey, which just represents, I guess, the different grounds that we play at, and then the little ‘U’ shapes are symbols for people too, at those meeting places.”
It’ll be a ‘great contest’
The Scorchers will play at home in Perth for the first time in two seasons after WBBL|06 was played entirely in a Sydney hub.
Devine says the team is excited to play a few games at home and hopefully chalk up some strong wins in this patch, before heading to Adelaide to continue the season.
“We’re absolutely really excited to be back home – we obviously haven’t played here since what, two seasons ago – so it is, it’s crucial winning. We know every win’s going to be really important.
“The table is pretty congested at the moment, so if we can get a few wins at home… it’s going to hold us in really good stead.”
Gardner said the Sixers feel pretty comfortable at Lilac Hill, the team has played there often in some fierce contests.
“It’s a great place to play cricket, I know the crowd gets behind the Scorchers… it’s just an awesome atmosphere to be honest because people actually get behind the game of cricket.
“Sometimes obviously not for us, but it’s awesome just to see people supporting cricket and supporting female cricket as well.”
“Coming up against the Scorchers on the Sunday is going to be a great contest and one I’m certainly looking forward to.”
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The rivalry has intensified this season with South African Marizanne Kapp moving to the Scorchers line-up from Sydney, and Nicole Bolton leaving Perth for the Sydney Sixers.
Speaking of Bolton’s move to the Sixers, Devine joked that she might need to soften her up for any clues on the new team.
“I need to get her (Bolton) onto the golf course and maybe soften her up a little bit.
“But no, look, I think she’s doing a fantastic job there, over at the Sixers and I think she’s going to be a real threat just like a lot of the other Sixers’ players.”
But after six seasons at the Scorchers, Bolton is just “really excited” to play against her old team.
“She obviously played for the Scorchers up until now and I’m sure she has some sort of insights going into that game,” said Gardner.
The Perth Scorchers and the Sydney Sixers will play in the Indigenous Match, set to start at 1:50 pm local time today (4:50 pm AEDT).