Orange Indigenous Round Huge Success


My original story was first published for Netball NSW.

The Office of Sport worked with Orange United Sports Club, Orange Netball Association (ONA) and Netball NSW to successfully host the first Indigenous Round of Netball in Orange on Saturday, 24 August.

ONA has a strong representation of Indigenous players with 44 senior and 78 juniors. Numbers have grown significantly over the past three years thanks to Orange United Sports Club’s recruitment strategy which targets Aboriginal girls and ladies.

The ONA Committee had considered an Indigenous round for a number of years and with the support of Netball NSW Regional Development and Pathways Manager, Mardi Aplin, were able to bring it to fruition this year.

ONA Committee member and female Aboriginal netball player, Danielle Annesley, said “it was a natural progression to follow in the footsteps of AFL and NRL in celebrating the outstanding contributions and achievements of Aboriginal women within the sport at all levels.”

To celebrate the round, Indigenous themed balls and bibs were designed along with speeches and face painting.

“The day was a huge success and planning is already under way for next year’s Indigenous round,” Ms Annesley said.

All Abilities Netball Success


My original story was first published for Netball NSW.

Netball NSW were proud supporters of the Manly Warringah All Abilities Championships that took place on Sunday September 9th at Jack Fisher Netball Courts. This competition was a celebration of disability netball in NSW, and teams travelled far and wide to participate. There was even a team from South Australia – the Special Olympics Starz – who ended up winning the competition in a hugely entertaining Grand Final against the Ku-ring-gai All Stars 1 team, winning 13-5.

Organiser Janelle Burgmann from MWNA was excited to be running the second edition of this competition. “This was another great step forward in building the all abilities netball community – we are hoping that more teams will be able to join this competition for its third instalment in 2020”.

Whilst the regular competition was underway, skills and drills sessions took place to make sure that the next generation of netballers were learning the fundamental netball skills of passing, catching, and shooting in order to participate in future events. We hope to see some of these girls moving up through the ranks in the teams that were on display at the event.

There was also a shooting competition throughout the day, which was one by Addison from the Pink Panthers, who was also the only male netballer in attendance! The MVP of the championship was won by Nalyn Sirivivatnanon from the West Ryde Rovers Rising Stars, who displayed incredible versatility and leadership throughout the championship. It’s no surprise that she is making another appearance for the Netball NSW Marie Little OAM Shield Team this year!

The Spirit Award was won by Sally Ferris, who could not stop displaying her amazing dance moves, and was an inspiration to those around her!


St Pauls

Blue Fins

West Ryde Rovers Rising Stars

Manly Warringah Superstars

Ku-ring-gai All Stars 1

Ku-ring-gai All Stars 2

Special Olympics Starz

Gosford Pink Panthers

TDT Illawarra Eagles

MVP Award:

Nalyn Sirivivatnanon: West Ryde Rovers Rising Stars

Spirit Award:

Sally Ferris: Ku-ring-gai All Stars 1

Grand Final Runners-Up:

Ku-ring-gai All Stars 2

Grand Final Winners:

Special Olympics All Starz

NSW Swifts Suncorp Super Netball Champions

My original story was first published for Netball NSW.
Our NSW Swifts are the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball Champions after beating the Sunshine Coast Lightning 64-goals to 47 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Sunday, September 15.

It was a dominant performance by the underdog-Swifts, who controlled the game from the opening whistle and finished the game with a spectacular 18-goal to 10 final quarter to seal the 17-goal win.

The Swifts were sharp early and seemed to settle into the big match first, jumping out to a six-goal lead at the midway point of the opening term.

They frustrated the normally fast-moving Lightning with their patient ball movement and ruthless finishing, waiting for the options to open up and pouncing on them.

When Nissan Player of the Match Sam Wallace’s 11th first quarter goal extended the lead to seven, and with the Lightning offence sputtering, Lightning head coach Noeline Taurua swapped out Steph Wood for Peace Proscovia.

The big Ugandan shooter’s presence was felt immediately, as the Sunshine Coast picked up the pace of the game and piled the pressure on the Swifts, scoring four of the last five goals to go into the first break trailing by just four.

The Lightning continued that momentum into the second quarter, drilling four quick goals to draw to within just one of the Swifts.

All over the court, Lightning players were lifting, and when Karla Pretorius stepped in-front of an errant Swifts pass for her third interception, the scores were level and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre was rocking.

But the Swifts, who have dealt with so much adversity through the year, stood up and showed that resiliency that had secured them a spot in the Grand Final in the first place.

Lead by Sarah Klau in defence, who played a career defining match, NSW came storming into the halftime break, scoring six of the last seven first half goals to take a 31-goal to 23 lead.

Many call the third quarter the Championship Quarter, and this one was no different as both teams pushed hard to set themselves up for the win.

The momentum swung back and forth from team to team for much of the 15-minutes, as the Swifts started hot only to be answered by the persistent Lightning, who were desperately clinging on to the match.

But the girls in red would not be denied, outscoring the Lightning 15-goals to 13 in a frenetic and thrilling third.

Leading by ten to start the final quarter, the Swifts could almost feel the trophy in their hands, they just had to hold their nerve and close out the back-to-back premiers. No mean feat.

And they were up to the challenge, blowing the Lightning off the court in a spectacular 18-goal final quarter to seal the franchises first Suncorp Super Netball Championship.

Score breakdown
Q1: Lightning 12 v Swifts 16
Q2: Lightning 11 v Swifts 15
Q3: Lightning 13 v Swifts 15
Q4: Lightning 11 v Swifts 18

Nissan Player of The Match – Sam Wallace (Swifts)

Lightning shooting statistics – 47/59 (80%)
Peace Proscovia – 16/18 (89%)
Steph Wood – 8/14 (57%)
Cara Koenen – 23/27 (85%)

Swifts shooting statistics – 64/73 (88%)
Sam Wallace – 40/44 (91%)
Helen Housby – 18/22(90%)
Sophie Garbin – 6/7 (85.7%)

Lightning starting seven: GS – Cara Koenen, GA – Steph Wood, WA – Laura Scherian, C – Laura Langman, WD – Maddy McAullife, GD – Karla Pretorius, GK – Phumza Maweni

Swifts starting seven: GS – Sam Wallace, GA – Helen Housby, WA – Nat Haythornthwaite, C – Paige Hadley, WD – Katrina Rore, GD – Maddy Turner, GK – Sarah Klau

2020 State Team Coaches Announced

NSW Swifts vs Melbourne Vixens Practice Match. March 10, 2018

My original story was first published for Netball NSW.

Netball NSW has appointed the coaches who will lead the State at the 19/U and 17/U National Netball Championships in next year.

Taking place annually, the Nationals provide NSW’s best young netballers the opportunity to represent their State and be spotted for talent identification. The Championships are a crucial stepping stone in both the Netball NSW and Netball Australia Pathways.

In 2020 the NSW 19/U Team will be led by the Eastwood Ryde Netball Association’s Jennifer Wright.

Wright, who is current head coach of the ERNA Hawks Opens Head Coach in the Netball NSW Premier League, comes to the role with a wealth of experience. She has also been the 2019 Waratahs Apprentice Coach and part of the 2019 Targeted Coach Program.

Returning as 17/U state team Head Coach for 2020 is Amber Cross (Wyong District Netball Association) returning to the State Team set-up.

The current Central Coast Heart Opens Premier League Head Coach was also a part of the 2019 Targeted Coach Program.

“It is a great honour to coach the future of netball in NSW so I would like to congratulate both of them in their coach selection,’’ Nikki Horton, Netball NSW Head of Netball, said.

“The 17s and 19s had a brilliant year this year with both sides winning silver at Nationals so we already knew that 2020 we were going to have to take it that one step further.”

“With Jennifer and Amber at the helm, I have such confidence that they will be able to get us to the finals once again and hopefully bring Nationals silverware back to NSW.’’

­­­­The competition will be held from April 18 – April 23 in Hobart.

Assistant and apprentice coaches will be announced in due course.

John Thornett: Remembered as the gentleman of rugby

My original story was first published at: Sydney Cricket Ground Trust

John Thornett, he man donned not only a ”gentleman, but a gentle human,” by , long-time friend. Was remembered and celebrated in the Sydney Cricket Ground’s Noble Dining Room, on Thursday Morning, during a public obituary.


History books tell an amazing story, but Thornett will be remembered for more than his 118 appearances in the Wallabies jersey. His influence on the game has been likened to Don Bradman in cricket or Herb Elliot in Athletics. Thornett was arguably the greatest captain Australian rugby, has ever seen.

Thornett was educated at Sydney Boys High and excelled in rugby, swimming and rowing. He won premierships as a captain for Sydney University and Northern Suburbs before debuting for both NSW and Australia in 1955.

The eldest of three brothers, who each carved out decorated international sporting careers, Thornett played 37 tests and toured eight times with the Wallabies, captaining the side on four of those tours. He led the Wallabies to their first major Test series win in 16 years as they defeated South Africa at home in 1965.

During his 13-year international career, Thornett played in four different positions, something that would certainly not occur in the modern game. He represented the Wallabies as flanker, lock, and both tighthead and loosehead prop.

Wallabies legend Simon Poidevin said of Thornett: “He was a beautiful man and a true gentleman who excelled in multiple sports and was a proud and successful captain of the Wallabies”.

His retirement from international rugby, came following the 1966–67 tour of the British Isles and France, his eighth tour with the Wallabies. He then continued to play for Northern Suburbs in the Sydney grade competition where he amassed 126 matches, additionally leading the club to five grand finals.

Following his retirement, Thornett wrote a book titled ‘’This World of Rugby’’, and was appointed to the first national coaching panel, which was a system that underpinned Australian success for decades to come.

Rugby Australia chief executive officer, Raelene Castle paid tribute on behalf of the game’s governing body.

“Australian rugby has lost not only one of its greatest Wallabies, but one of its finest leaders,” Castle said.

‘’John Thornett played rugby for the love of the game and at all times treasured its values of mateship and sportsmanship. There was nothing he would not do for the game and his team, which is why his name is synonymous with Australian pride and great leadership.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper also said that the contribution Thornett made to the sport, has remained an example for players today.

“When I sit down and chat with former Wallabies about their time in the gold jersey, they all speak glowingly of John and are in awe of how he played on the field and how he represented himself and Australia,” Hooper said.
The SCG would like to thank everyone who joined us in celebrating John Thornett’s life on Thursday.

Pink day a roaring success

My original story was first published at: Sydney Cricket Ground Trust

The McGrath Foundation raced towards their fundraising target of $2.1 million on day three of the Test, which would support up to 15 breast care nurses across Australia.

Glenn McGrath reflected on the success of his late wife’s legacy: “To think what’s been created over the last 11 Tests, is absolutely incredible. We couldn’t have done that without the support of Cricket Australia and the SCG Trust. Never did I think in a million years that it would have been so successful, and it continues to grow each year.”

It was another eventful day off the field with fans, staff, media and the NSW Police Force sporting pink to support breast cancer awareness and nurses. This year’s success was further demonstrated as both cricket teams have got behind the foundation.

Indian Cricket captain Virat Kohli donned the pitch with pink on his gloves and his pads as well as the McGrath Foundation symbol itself. McGrath said:  ”It’s very humbling. It just builds how everyone feels about the foundation and how they feel about this day. Eleven years since our first pink Test, it’s getting bigger and better every year. I have to pinch myself that I played for Australia so I’m certainly pinching myself now. The only difference from where I retired to where I am now half my wardrobe is pink.”

The who’s who of the SCG attended the McGrath High Tea as part of yesterday’s festivities, in the Entertainment Quarter. Attendees included Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, SCG CEO Kerrie Mather as well as the partners of the Australian cricket team.

CEO of the SCG, Kerrie Mather, was delighted to be a part of supporting the foundation. She reflected on the beginnings of the partnership and when pink day first began: ”It started as what was ladies day back in 2006, where we used to celebrate that in the members reserve. The cricket community got together around the McGrath family. The SCG decided to turn what was ‘’ladies day’, into ‘’Pink day’’ with our members. Cricket Australia then took the idea to the broader community and there’s been no turning back since. It’s been a fabulous initiative.

To support the worthy cause, see one of the McGrath volunteers walking around the ground during the remainder of the Test, or head to the website: Pink Test.


SCG CEO, Venues NSW Chairwoman, colleagues and myself pictured above at the Jane McGrath Day High Tea.




SCG: Rich in Member History

My original story was first published at: Sydney Cricket Ground Trust

Chairman Tony Shepherd AO welcomed new members into the 50 and 70-year club in the MA Noble Dining Room of the SCG on Monday morning. The high tea event was a celebration of the SCG’s long-standing members and their remarkable contribution to the history of the ground.


The honoured members’ involvement with the SCG predates current sporting stars who tread the grass today. It predates every building on Trust lands except the Members and Ladies pavilions.

This morning was also a time to reflect on some of the rich history, shared from the memories of our members which include; sitting on the roof of the old Bob Stand, competing in athletics and rugby and even batting against Richie Benaud. Then there were those who had the pleasure of being an acquaintance of Sir Don Bradman or those who have historical family ties to the formation of the SCG in the 1800s. It’s safe to say, the members of the SCG all have a unique story to tell.

Stephanie Brantz interviewed fellow Trustee and Australian cricketer Stuart MacGill, who shared some of his own memories from his time playing on the hallowed turf. Grounds Manager Justin Groves also gave members an insight into how his team are preparing for the New Year’s Test and a busy 2019 as the SCG prepares to welcome a number of football matches back to the ground.

After the morning tea, members were invited onto the ground during the Sheffield Shield break to have their photo taken with the Chairman and the old SCG roller.

We look forward to welcoming our 50 and 70-year members back to the SCG this summer.


IAAF to honour Australia’s Golden Girl with plaque

My original was first published at: Sydney Cricket Ground Trust

Australia’s golden girl, the late Betty Cuthbert will be one of twelve track and field legends to be honoured as part of the newly created IAAF World Athletics Heritage Plaque program.

Her plaque will be erected in the historic Sydney Cricket Ground precinct where she set six of her eight world records.

The announcement was made at an IAAF Heritage Legends Reception in Monaco this week.

IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe said, “The IAAF World Athletics Heritage Plaque is a location-based recognition which highlights, celebrates and links together iconic and historic athletics competitions, careers, performances, cities, venues, landmarks and culture around the world.”

A uniquely designed plaque will be permanently and publicly displayed at a location closely associated with each recipient.

Coe continued: “On the same principle that London’s world-famous blue plaque scheme celebrates notable people who have lived and worked in the British capital, the IAAF World Athletics Heritage Plaque sets out to recognise an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of athletics.”

Chairman of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust, Mr Tony Shepherd was delighted that Ms Cuthbert would be recognised at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“The SCG Trust is delighted that the IAAF has selected the Sydney Cricket Ground as the location for Betty Cuthbert’s IAAF World Athletics Heritage plaque. Betty set six of her eight world records at the former Sydney Sports Ground within the Sydney Cricket Ground precinct, and became the darling in Australian sport.”

“Like the IAAF, the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust maintains a strong commitment to its history.

“The SCG Trust invited Lord Sebastian Coe to unveil bronze sculptures of Betty Cuthbert and fellow Australian athletic champion Marlene Mathews earlier this year.”

Lord Sebastian Coe said that Cuthbert (and Mathews) had left an incredible legacy across the entire sport of athletics.

Betty Cuthbert represented Australia at three Olympic Games and two British Empire Games. She remains the only athlete to win the women’s 100 metres, 200 metres, and 400 metres at the Olympic Games.

Betty Cuthbert was remembered with a moving moment silence in an emotional tribute during the 2018 IAAF World Championships in London.

Her plaque will be erected at the Sydney Cricket Ground precinct with a formal unveiling to be confirmed.


Trio of SCC Women, help win T20 World Cup Trophy

My original was first published at: Sydney Cricket Ground Trust

The now, fourth-time World T20 Trophy winning Women’s Australian Team, have defeated England by eight wickets in Antigua on Sunday 25th. Three Sydney Cricket Club Tiger’s players Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry and Rachael Haynes had a very successful tournament. This underlined the team’s status as one of the world sport’s most dominant outfits, in securing the World T20 trophy for Australia.

In 2009, The Southern Stars lost out to England in the semi-finals of the inaugural competition. They however have claimed the title in 2010, 2012, 2014 with only one upset loss to the West Indies in the 2016. And now have the 2018 title to add to their collection.

Australia produced their best performance of the in Antigua, to bowl out England for a total of 105 from 19.4 overs with Perry claiming 1-23. The run-chase was never in doubt following contributions from Healy (22), Ash Gardner (33*) and skipper Meg Lanning (28*) achieving the total in 15.1 overs.

Australian and Tigers wicket keeper Alyssa Healy was deserving named Player of the Tournament after top-scoring with 225 runs at an average of 56.25. Despite her concussion against India, this did not interrupt her game as she led from the front at the top of the order as well as capturing 8 dismissals throughout the entire tournament.

Ellyse Perry and Rachael Haynes also both had a stellar tournament. They produced strong performances throughout the fixtures. Perry first led the bowlers taking 9 wickets across the 5 innings with none more important than Dottin in the semi-final and form English batsmen Natalie Sciver. Rachael Haynes was consistently playing at her best in the middle, returning 4 not outs in her total of 5 innings. Haynes played a variety of roles, including successfully scoring quick late order runs or guiding Australia over the line in crucial periods.

On behalf of the The Trust we send our congratulations to the players for a very successful tournament for Australia and our Tigers.


Women Who Werk

Feminist: noun.

‘’The doctrine of advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men.’’

I started playing on a ‘mixed football team’ at the age of 5. I was the only girl on the whole team. For 5 Years straight.

I was an athletic girl. Fast. Fearless. Not to toot my own horn, an asset to the team.

But the boys didn’t pass the ball to me often, simply because I was a girl.

This is where it stated.

Meaningless inequality because of my gender.

This progressed to mixed cross country races later in school, where I was deemed a ‘cheater’ because I simply crossed the finish line before all of the boys.

Later in high school, when you’d expect everyone to be a little wiser. A little more mature.

I fortunately took my gift of athleticism and worked hard. Was a national level athlete at this point. And with achievement comes some limelight (to my dismay).

The lime light I received to celebrate my achievements was far too emasculating to some close- minded individuals.


The boys ALWAYS to run before the girls. Track and field. Cross county. Even swimming.

As their participation was reduced to a walk. And I was fortunately the first of the girls races, to catch the boys who started before us.

A group of ‘footy boys’ from my grade decided to make a human wall, during this race. So when I approached them I simply

Could not get past, unless I wanted to run in the gutter full of water around them.

When approaching I politely asked them to move. But no cigar.

I had to physically push past these larger boys, injuring myself in the process & affecting my mental state half way through my 4km race – in order for my race not to be completely obstructed and my race performance to be dismantled.

This didn’t end there, sadly. But I’m not one to sit back and let someone, let alone a whole group make me feel inferior when I haven’t done anything wrong.

I continued to be bullied by boys.

Because I was simply taller than them. Because of my athleticism.

Because I was loud, enthusiastic, didn’t follow the crowd. (and was little bit crazy!)

Because of my diligence to school work.

Because I had dreams.

Because I did not take them stealing my lunch box, as a sign of ‘flirting.’ I did not accept the teacher’s view that ‘they only

Annoy you and call you names because they like you!’

No, that was not, nor will ever be acceptable. That is an excuse for their behaviour. Which was deemed to be ‘okay’ and had no punishment for making me feel inferior or harassed.

It’s not ‘’boys will be boys, Lani.’ This behaviour simply not okay. And allows those boys to think they can treat women like that, later in life.

I have been 6’1’’ since I was about 16.

But I take the gift of height as a privilege.

And feel sad for those boys. that chose to be intimidate by something I simply can’t help. Genetics.

Or something that doesn’t in any way concern them like the way I live my life, or my Athletic achievements. (Until the day that boys start competing against girls).

This misogynistic philosophy It may stem back to stories like mine.

The things little boys, are lead to believe while they’re growing up, deciding what kind of person they’re going to be…is okay.

Let’s make sure it ends here.


Real men teach their children not to discriminate based on gender or even race for that matter. Based on appearance, ability or behaviour.

My philosophy is a person should only be judged, simply how they move through the world and how they treat others.

These experiences, although not completely terrible. Weren’t nice.

But they made me the person and the athlete I am today.

It taught me not to be complacent with someone’s preconvinced perception of you, your ability or what kind of person you are for that matter; on first glance.

And it additionally assisted with encouraging a strong intrinsic mental drive from a young age. Which eventually assisted with being able to win a gold (X 2) medal for my country.

I describe myself as a Feminist for this reason.

Not because I believe in a notion of men-hating, oppressed, hard-down-by righteous females who don’t like sticking to rules; like so many people are wrongly educated to think being a Feminist entails.

I am a Feminist because I am a fighter.

A fighter for simple equality – equal opportunity, rights, wages, treatment, attitudes and parody amongst genders.

Equality in the mentality that women are equal to men. In their value, their place in the world, the workplace, politics, rights in history and in future history.

In that women are capable, forceful, fierce human beings.

And I will not let anyone underestimate me because of my gender.

This open style of Feministic mindset is important to explore, in a world where in some cultures, it’s traditional to ask your husband for permission to simply purchase yourself a gym membership. Where men are culturally expected to dictate their wive’s every decision.

Where women aren’t allowed to drive an automobile, let alone be independent in their own decision making.

I encourage you to teach your Son’s when they begin football training, or are on a mixed-gender class.

Your husbands in a work environment where their superior may be a female.

Your male mates, who feel intimidated by a powerful woman.

Encourage equal thinking. Eliminate this superiority complex based on someone’s thought process, hundreds of years ago.

Please. Make up your own damn mind!