First Nations Round 2023
Melbourne University Lightning
May 31, 2023
Melbourne University Lightning celebrate First Nations Round
Melbourne University Lightning are proud to take part in the Victorian Netball League’s (VNL) First Nations Round this week, at Parkville on Wurundjeri Country.
Falling during National Reconciliation Week, the Round celebrates First Nations contribution to netball, and the power sport has to connect and strengthen communities.
The Club’s marking of the occasion began last Friday, with Championship head coach Tegan Hopkins, proud Wiradjuri athlete Gabby Coffey and former Vice President Mel Laird attending a clinic on National Sorry Day, held with the Fitzroy Stars Junior Netball Club in Bundoora on Wurundjeri Country.
Last year the Club unveiled its First Nations uniform designed by Merindah-Gunya, proud Kirrae and Peek Wurrong woman of the Gundjitmara nation, launching during VNL’s inaugural First Nations Round.
Merindah-Gunya lead a workshop on Sunday after team training, speaking about their path to becoming a contemporary Aboriginal artist, and the importance of reconciliation and Voice To Parliament.
One of three Aboriginal athletes at the Club this year, proud Wurundjeri woman Chenile Chandler has flourished in the Bolts 1 team, and made her VNL debut in Round 9.
Chenile continues to make an impact in the community, having won the Young Citizen of the Year Award in 2016 and previously working at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as a Census Community Engagement Officer.
An accomplished performer, Chenile has also sung at the Australian Open, Dream Time at the G, AFLW matches and NAIDOC Week in Woiwurrung language and opened for Ed Sheeran earlier this year.
“First Nations Round is always really special. It shines a light on our people, culture and history. It showcases our talent from players of the game to artists and performers.
“I feel valued and that our netball community is passionate about working towards a better future for our people.”
The Club’s VNL and Bolts Development teams will wear their First Nations Round uniform and bibs this week to mark the occasion, and will explore opportunities to wear it again before the season ends.
Melbourne University Lightning acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people, Traditional owners of the land on which we train and play, pay respect to their Elders past and present, and acknowledge their enduring cultural practices of caring for Country.
The Club’s clash with Casey Demons will be live streamed via Kommunity TV.