Picture: Melbourne Vixens

The Inner Sanctum takes a look at the designs all eight clubs will wear during the SSN's First Nations Round.

The Suncorp Super Netball League (SSN) will be hosting its First Nations round over the course of rounds 11 and 12.

The significant event on the fixture will coincide with National Reconciliation Week and aims to recognise the histories, cultures and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the sport of netball and to the nation.

This year’s league artwork is titled ‘Gather as One’ and has been been Gamilaroi woman Krystal Dallinger. The artwork combines tradiitonal and modern techinques and will be featured across First Nations Round with a custom match ball, umpire uniforms and the centre circle design.

The Inner Sanctum takes a look at the dress designs for all eight teams.

Adelaide Thunderbirds

This year, the Adelaide Thunderbirds have collaborated with photographer Shane Cook and students from the South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy’s (SAASTA) netball academy to design their First Nations dress.

It follows on from the previous collaboration between Cook and the SAASTA students who also worked on the design during the 2021/22 SSN campaign.

Collingwood Magpies

Collingwood has called on Djab Wurrong and Kirrae Wurrong artist Tarni Jarvis to design its dress for the First Nations round.

The design aims to tell the many stories of those people and groups that make up the Collingwood Football Club.

The design also features circles in the black stripes of the dress that are all unique to tell the stories of those at the club. A commonly used method of crosshatching, which is prominent in Aboriginal art from the southwest of Victoria, features on the dress to form the white stripes of the dress.


Giants Netball

The GIANTS have once again continued its collaboration with Gamilaroi woman Krystal Dallinger.

It is the sixth design from the designer since the introduction of the First Nations round six years ago.

Dallinger has delivered another powerful design. This time aiming to shine a light on her community and its resilience following the impact of such events including bushfires and flooding.

Melbourne Vixens

The Melbourne Vixens’ has been designed by artist Rebecca Atkinson. Atkinson is a Moiradu woman from the Bangerang Nation from her father’s side and Kerrupmara woman from the Gunditjmara Nation on her mother’s side.

The artist drew on personal experiences of playing as a netball and as a fan to express the themes of fearlessness, resilience and togetherness which are best suited for both the Melbourne Vixens and First Nations people.

Fearlessness is a prominent theme on the inner dress design. It is comprised of seven circles representing each of the players as they move and compete on court. The design attached to the circles symbolises the remaining athletes who play an equally important role supporting from the sidelines.

Resilience is another theme which is reflected in the wavy, pink-coloured lines of the dress. Atkinson noted that First Nations people show resilience everyday as they face ongoing challenges and adversity due to colonisation.

Togetherness is symbolised by the large outer circles that represent the Vixens’ coaches, staff, and fans. Regardless of their role, everyone plays a part in ensuring the team is successful on and off the court.

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NSW Swifts

The NSW Swifts’ First Nations dress has been designed by Wongaibon woman Tarsha Hawley. This will mark the third time that the team has collaborated with Hawley to make the Indigenous uniform.

This season the Sutherland Stingrays player (Netball NSW Premier League)’s artwork this year was focused on “a representation of growth, development and the importance of remembering where you came from and where you started”.

Queensland Firebirds

The Queensland Firebirds have once again recruited artist and designer Rachael Sarra to create their 2023 First Nations dress.

Sarra is a Goreng Goreng women and has made the artwork to share a story that showcases netball being more than the seven players that feature on a court at one time. Multiple elements from Sarra’s artwork ‘The Future Reignited. Healing Smoke, Uniting Flames’ feature on the dress.

Sales from the Firebirds First Nation dress will see all proceeds going towards the Diamond Spirit program. The program aims to use netball to engage, empower and educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in both remote, and regional communities across Queensland.

Donnell Wallam and Remi Kamo wearing the Queensland Firebirds dress designed for the First Nations round. (Image: Queensland Firebirds Website).

Sunshine Coast Lightning

Wakka Wakka Tūwharetoa artist Jerome Wano was at the helm of the Sunshine Coast Lightning’s First Nations dress.

Wano, who is also a student at the University of the Sunshine Coast, hand-painted the dress’ artwork.

In the artwork titled ‘Our Women’, Wano depicts three stories throughout the piece which he explained on the club’s website.

The first story is the story of the creation of country which shows the story of a serpent’s journey over Kabi Kabi country. The second story is about the women of the country, whilst the last story focuses on the Sunshine Coast’s players.

West Coast Fever

For this First Nations round, the West Coast Fever have utilised the work of Noongar artists Peter Farmer and Kylie Graham.

Over the next two SSN rounds, the Fever will wear dresses that consist of a powerful design.

On the dress it includes seven circular symbols which represent the seven players on the court gathering or coming together.

It will also include a unpredictable path water that weaves throughout the design, as well as symbols of Aboriginal culture that represent the female.

90-degree angles will also feature on the design, which symbolise the sections of the netball court and the sharp turns of life that every individual has in their journey.

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