I agree that Netball Australia as a whole should be looking at what needs to be done to reduce the gap between representation in grassroots and junior levels and representation at the elite levels, and they should have stood up and taken responsibility. It really frustrated me that they made that statement earlier in the year after the interview with Beryl Friday, but didn’t seem to have any concrete action or even action plans by the time indigenous round arrived.
However, the Firebirds do deserve at least some scrutiny. Yes, they are one of the only teams to have an indigenous player. But that means they should be leading the way, especially given that they have had indigenous players in the past. At the very least, they should be learning from past mistakes. Mi Mi shouldn’t have to be developing their “cultural awareness” – if it’s her choice, then good for her, but it shouldn’t be her obligation. Finals weren’t on the line, the win didn’t matter, and they had an established precedent of rotating their midcourt earlier in the year. Even if the issue was Dunkley being the dominant WA for them, why not rest Cassidy and give Mi Mi a run out at centre? They also just couldn’t own up to making a mistake – no, “yeah, we screwed this up. here’s how we are supporting the player and planning to prevent this from happening again”. Instead it’s “we misread expectations, but we wanted the win and this is what our coaching staff and leadership group decided to do to get it” (and honestly, how shitty would you feel if you found out your coach and leaders thought they couldn’t win with you on the court in the round that means the most to you? no wonder Mi Mi was upset).
@netballmum – are you sure it was last year? Indigenous round was round 8 and champion data says Mi Mi played centre in that game