Pictured: Leichan Williams (Left), Naomi Pedro (Centre) and Bibi Baker (Right) represent the Cairns contingent who were selected in the 2017 Apunipima Australian Indigenous All Stars Womenâ€™s Basketball Team.
Womenâ€™s Indigenous representative basketball teams will write the opening chapter of their Trans-Tasman rivalry story next week, when they match-up for the very first time in Cairns.
The Apunipima Australian Indigenous Basketball Womenâ€™s All Stars will face the New Zealand Maori National Team in a three-game series, as part of the 4th Annual Trans-Tasman Basketball Clash being held at Early Settler Stadium from December 5-7. Coaching the womenâ€™s All Stars is Australiaâ€™s first-ever Torres Strait Islander Olympic athlete and President of the National Indigenous Basketball Academy, Mr. Danny Morseu, who said he was thrilled to be a part of the history-making event.
â€śOver the past three-years weâ€™ve seen how successful the series has become with the two menâ€™s sides, itâ€™s great to take the event to the next level by now including female participation,â€ť Mr. Morseu said.
The Apunipima Womenâ€™s All Stars have announced an invitational team of twelve players to battle the Maori squad and Mr. Morseu said he was thankful to the athletes for their commitment to this yearâ€™s series.
â€śItâ€™s always challenging logistically when you put a representative side like this together and due to the timeframes and financial resources available, we unfortunately werenâ€™t able to conduct a full selection trial for
female Indigenous players from all over the country.â€ť
â€śWe had to do things on an invitational basis, simply because there were only a few months to get a competitive team on the floor, ready to play.â€ť
â€śHowever, now that a national womenâ€™s Indigenous All Stars program has been established at this Trans-Tasman level, weâ€™ll be sure to look at conducting trials on a much broader scope next year.â€ť
"Our objective for the women's program is to create a national squad of approximately thirty-players that we could select from annually to play against New Zealand.â€ť
â€śWe are certainly excited about the team that has been put together for this year and our collective goal will be to win the inaugural series in Cairns,â€ť Mr. Morseu added.
Naming sponsors of the menâ€™s Indigenous All Stars, Apunipima Cape York Health Council, have also stepped up their support to now include assistance to the womenâ€™s Indigenous All Stars for this yearâ€™s event.
Apunipima Chief Executive Officer Paul Stephenson said the organisation was proud to encourage growth in womenâ€™s sport.
â€śItâ€™s fantastic to see the event now including female sides and Apunipima are delighted to support the womenâ€™s Indigenous All Stars this year,â€ť Mr. Stephenson said.
â€śBoth the female and male teams are outstanding role-models and weâ€™re pleased to have such positive ambassadors in the community helping to promote our Apunipima healthy lifestyle campaigns,â€ť he added.
The Trans-Tasman Basketball Clash commences with game one being held next Tuesday (Dec 5) at 6pm. Game two will be played the following night (Dec 6) with game three scheduled for Thursday (Dec 7).
2017 APUNIPIMA AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS BASKETBALL WOMENâ€™S ALL STARS
Alana Fraser - Townsville, QLD
Bibi Baker - Cairns, QLD
Courtney Bowden - Melbourne, VIC
Denesha Bobongie - Mackay, QLD
Jessica Bamlett - Melbourne, VIC
Klarindah Hudson - Melbourne, VIC
Leichan Williams - Cairns, QLD
Maddie Allen - Brisbane, QLD
Rashada Kaigey - Townsville, QLD
Sophie Atkinson - Shepparton, VIC
Thamar Atkinson - Shepparton, VIC
Tyler Atkinson - Shepparton, VIC
Head Coach: Danny Morseu
Assistant Coach: Naomi Pedro
Team Manager: June Bamlett