The Netball NSW Premier League is set to celebrate Indigenous Round for the first time this week, with all eight teams heading out onto the courts on Thursday evening proudly wearing Tarsha Hawley’s artwork on their bibs.
Round 6, which takes place on Thursday July 11, coincides with NAIDOC Week this year. The league is embracing the ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth’ message, and has themed its round as “Tiddas Together.” Tiddas is a colloquial Aboriginal word for ‘sisters’.
Hawley, who plays for defending champions Central Coast Heart in the state league and is a proud Wongaibon woman, was asked to share her story on the league-wide bibs in a similar way to Krystal Dallinger for Super Netball less than a month ago.
The 21-year-old netball star said she was “nervous” when she got the call asking her to lend her story to the historic round, but the small nerves of putting her design out there were far outweighed by the chance to be “part of something great.”
“It was really exciting when I got the call, I was a little bit nervous but I said ‘yes’ straight away because being involved in the first Indigenous Round for the league is just really cool,” Hawley told the Chronicle.
“I’m still learning so much about my culture, so it was really awesome to be able to take the artwork about my journey and explore that. Once I put all my ideas together and saw the final piece that had been designed I was over the moon.”
Hawley, who moved from the Central West town of Nyngan to Newcastle when she was 15 years old to pusure her netballing career, explained that her design for the league-wide bib embraced the story of travel. She wanted the focus to be on everyone coming together as family – or ‘Tiddas’ – to rise to the top in the world of professional netball.
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“I put the crow on the bottom for my tribe, and then the triangle and the footprints are like my journey, and that everyone is all going forward,” Hawley explained.
“The triangle is the pathway, we all start equal at the bottom and we climb our way to the top together. On the edges we have waves and voices from past and present ancestors, and the other dots are the community, all joining up.
“I wanted to put my story of coming to the Hunter Valley five years ago on the bib, and show that no matter where you come from you can achieve the top of anything if you put in that hard work. It’s all very personal, and very special.”
As well as the historic Indigenous Round, Thursday evening’s Round 6 game for Hawley and Central Coast is a massive fixture in their title defence.
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Heart are set to face league leaders the ERNA Hawks on Court 1 this week. Both Heart and the Hawks have chalked up 4-1 starts to their 2019 campaigns, with Central Coast only behind the Eastwood-Ryde team on goal difference.
With Central Coast receiving a boost in regards to several returning players this week, Hawley is confident that the team has what it takes to go back-to-back this season – a task that may rely on ousting the Hawks this round.
“I believe in us, and so far we’ve been going very good,” Hawley said of her team’s progress so far in the state league. “We’re definitely looking for a win this Thursday. We have most of our team back after a few weeks without them, so I think we’re confident.”
Central Coast’s table-topping clash against Eastwood-Ryde will be played at 7pm on Thursday. The match will be available live and free to watch thanks to BarTV Sports, either on YouTube or in the streaming browser below.