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Local girls represent heritage on national stage

TWO young Indigenous girls have been selected to represent Australia on the international netball stage in New Zealand. Rhyanna Yow-Yeh and Shiianne Barlow went to North Palmerston NZ last week in order to compete with the ‘Budgies’ indigenous school girls team.

The girls are currently playing and will finish the competition on May 31 before returning to Atherton. With Rhyanna having been previously selected for the international school girls team, she will have a veterans advantage.

“Last year I received a call up from Budgies to represent at the u19s Budgies Indigenous Australia at the Gold Coast,” Rhyanna said. “This year feels different because I made the first 12 during selections at the January 2019 National Indigenous Schoolgirls Netball Championships in Melbourne.”

This being Shiianne’s first experience at the international level, she sees this as an opportunity to grow and develop her skills.

“I have been selected in the Budgies netball team but we only played competitions around Australia,” Shiianne said. “Being an International side the experience will be quite different. “It’s great to be a part of it as I can learn and develop my skills.”

In preparation for the competition both girls have been doing training internally and externally from netball, including cross-fit and personal trainers. Both girls stated that this extra assistance has helped them on the court.

“To keep my fitness up I regularly attend HBZ CrossFit in Atherton,” Rhyanna said.

Shiianne credited her fitness to her dad Michael Barlow and Glen Hussy from Motorv8 Industries. “To keep my endurance and fitness up I did my own fitness at home with the help of my dad and Glen who helped me as a Personal Trainer.”

Both girls regularly play a high level of netball with Shiianne playing in A Grade for the Tablelands and Cairns divisions while Rhyanna has been selected for representative teams for the Far North region this year. Confidence was a staple for both girls stating that most of the girls in the team have played together previously.

“Most of the girls in our team have played together previously on a number of occasions,” Rhyanna said. Rhyanna feels that this cohesive nature of the side will enable them to become a strong team and compete well. Shiianne agrees saying “many people on the team know and played together – we have a good chance to perform well.”

Rhyanna and Shiianne were full of praise for the support people and organisations have offered them, ranging from parents, friends, local netball committees, even to the Tablelands Regional Council.

“I’d like to thank the Tablelands Regional Council for supporting me to attend the National Indigenous Netball Championships in Melbourne earlier this year.” Rhyanna said. “And thank you to the Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust in supporting me to travel to New Zealand this year.”

Coming from an Indigenous background both girls feel great pride in being able to represent their culture on the world stage. “It is an honour and a privilege to represent indigenous Australia in netball,” Rhyanna said “I will represent my Aboriginal and Torres Strait heritage with absolute pride.

“These events give me the opportunity to showcase the talent and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls from rural and remote communities of Australia.” Rhyanna also said that she hopes to be seen as a role model for other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls who want to pursue their dreams and aspirations in netball.

Similar words were spoken by Shiianne saying that she will represent her heritage with honour and pride. “This will hopefully encourage more indigenous to play and perform well,” Shiianne said. “And to represent their indigenous heritage while playing sports, it gives them an idea that they can make it.”

Rhyanna and Shiianne look to represent their heritage and culture along with the 11 other players that have travelled to New Zealand.

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