Krystal Dallinger and Sam Poolman proudly show off the 2019 Giants Indigenous Round dresses.

Hunter netball star Krystal Dallinger has again designed the Indigenous Round dress for the Giants ahead of their reverse-fixture derby clash against arch-rivals the NSW Swifts at Qudos Bank Arena this Sunday afternoon.

The partnership between Dallinger and the Super Netball club comes after Sam Poolman put forward the young netballer in 2018. The top-level netball competition began their annual Indigenous Round last season, and it coincided perfectly with a gift that Poolman had received from Dallinger – a club hat emblazoned with Indigenous designs.

Now, a year on from Dallinger has again put her story onto the Giants’ dresses.

“Both years Krystal has had complete freedom, the Giants wanted her to be creative and tell her ongoing story with the design, and the dress,” Poolman told the Chronicle.

Poolman and teammate Jo Harten show off the 2019 Indigenous Round design ahead of their derby clash with the Swifts.

After the strong coastal themes that Dallinger brought to last year’s design, which included rivers, and her totem animal the turtle, the Hunter netballer has moved towards telling a “family story” with her 2019 creation.

“Last year’s dress was all about her journey that she made from Dubbo to Newcastle to pursure her netball dreams, and we’ve kind of picked up on that strand again now,” Poolman explained. “This year she wanted to explore the next part of that story, which is all the support of family, and the way that she’s become part of the Giants.

“The tree in the middle is that symbol of family, and life, and it’s been put in the middle of the dress because family is such a core part of her story. The emu in the design is from her area of Lightning Ridge, and the turtles are there because they’re her totem animal. They have a special place in her story.

“The round circles on the dress are cool too, those kind of designs are usually connected by a river stream, but they’re not connected on the Giants dress because in Dubbo they’re experiencing a drought at the moment so that tells its own story too. Overall there’s a lot of strong themes of family, of where she’s been and where she’s going.”

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Dallinger’s relationship with the Giants has grown again through her second process designing their special round dress, but Poolman said it was also a pleasure and a privledge to continue working with someone who she believes has the world at her feet.

Poolman has worked with the young Hunter netballer, and designer, as part of her ASPIRE development program, which aims to provide pathways for young women looking to make a career out of the sport they love.

“I was really touched twelve months ago when Giants were happy to give the opportunity to a young netballer, and that was even more special when we chose Krystal because I really respect her, and have worked closely with her,” the Giants keeper said.

“She has a fantastic attitude, she’s really driven in what she wants to do, and I cannot think of a more perfect person. I’m so proud to see where she’s come from a year ago, to now, and telling her story. It’s no easy feat to stand in front of the players that you idolise in the team that you support, and tell them about your life and story.

“We’re happy, and proud, at the club to give opportunities to someone like Krystal because it makes the round so much more special, and I believe that’s what the league wants to do with the round as whole. It’s a celebration.”

The Giants and the Swifts are barrelling towards “one of the biggest [games] on the calendar” this weekend.
While it’s a fantastic celebration on and off the court heading into the Indigenous Round clash against the Swifts, there’s also more than a touch of competitiveness. After their rivals knocked them over 63-56 in the opening round, the Giants are out for revenge.

Between the derby fixture, and the “honour” of celebrating Indigenous Round, Poolman said she’s expecting the Swifts-Giants clash to be “one of the biggest on the calendar.”

“We’re all hoping for a really big crowd, it’s a derby round at Qudos Bank Arena and they’re always special, and then we have that nice reminder of the bigger picture with the celebrations as well,” she said.

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“Everyone is hoping the arena gets absolutely packed out, and Swifts have had a really great season so it’s going to be a fairly good game I think. Whether people are coming out for them, or for us, we are hoping to see all the fans coming out.

“After our first rounds we’re playing some good netball again, and the Swifts haven’t really been challenged yet in their season so we’re really looking forward to putting pressure on them and aiming for the big win.”

Poolman also issued a welcome to all “young designers” in the Hunter region and beyond: tell the Super Netball star about your artwork, and your designing dreams, and she will do her best to make sure it’s shared with the world.

“I’m more than happy for any young girl that’s interested in their art to contact me, and hopefully we can provide opportunities like Krystal has had in the near future. To be able to share that around is always really special,” she said.

Sunday’s match between the Swifts and the Giants will also be Sam’s 40th Super Netball appearance, as well as teammates Jo Harten’s and Jamie-Lee Price’s milestone games. The Giants trio have not missed a game since the league began.

The match begins at 3pm on Sunday, June 16 at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena. Tickets are still on sale for the Indigenous Round and are available here.

Check out the Chronicle’s Netball NSW 2019 State Titles mega gallery

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