Diamond Valley Eagles will showcase a new Indigenous Jersey and more in their NBL1 Indigenous Round double-header against Frankston Blues on Saturday night.
The Eagles will be amongst several NBL1 South associations who are highlighting the contributions of the First Nations people in a tribute to NAIDOC Week.
Despite recent internal management changes, Indigenous Round has remained a priority for Diamond Valley. As such, their double-header will feature a number of spectacles.
Included will be a Welcome to Country by Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Ringo Terrick – booked through the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, and a curtain raiser performance by First Nations performer, Kee’ahn – winner of the Archie Roach award at the 2020 Indigenous Music Awards.
Referees will also be wearing Indigenous themes lanyards for their whistles during the round. They have also used these for the entirety of this year’s NAIDOC Week.
Diamond Valley Treasurer, Andrew Williams, said everything in place for this Indigenous Round will act as a platform for even more to be done in the future.
“Diamond Valley participated in the 2019 NBL1 Indigenous Round but there has been a significant personnel change since then with an entirely new board, a new General Manager and new staff,” Williams said. “We really see it as starting this year and growing it into something larger and more inclusive over the coming years, as well as introducing an Indigenous Round for our domestic competition too.”
Indigenous uniforms designed and made by Indigenous owned, and Supply Nation certified, Phyre Apparel will be worn by Diamond Valley’s NBL1 South teams.
“Due to budgetary constraints in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we really wanted a design that would have some longevity so that we could build on it and incorporate it into our celebrations in future years.
“As such we used the theme of our mascot, the wedge-tailed eagle, as the inspiration for the design.”
The artwork itself was provided by an owner of Phyre Apparel after Diamond Valley provided them with their theme suggestion.
“The wedge-tailed eagle is relevant not just as our mascot but as an important part of the Nillumbik/Diamond Valley area as they can often be seen soaring through the skies over the greener areas of the region.
“There is also the link with Bunjil, the creator, an important figure in Kulin nation Dreamtime stories.”
The design holds an emphatic meaning for Williams that he hopes can become a shared feeling amongst the local community.
“To me it is a metaphor the role our representative program plays in the broader sense of the association,” he said. “The eagle soars over the entire region representing the heights and watchful presence above – this is how our Eagles program represents our entire domestic competition.
“They may be different clubs at that level but they all come together under the protection of the Eagle.”
Newly appointed General Manager for Diamond Valley, Patrick Di Lizio, said their plans for this Indigenous Round would not have been possible without the support and efforts of his board. He pointed out the contribution of Williams.
“Despite the difficulties of the last year on everyone, but community sport in general, the rest of the board were quick to back the drive to do this round well that was led by our Treasurer, Andrew,” Di Lizio said. “He is a proud Poredareme man that grew up off country in the Diamond Valley area and played juniors through our domestic and rep programs.
“He is still heavily involved, not just on the board but also with our referee program.
“The board backing this event fits with their strategic plan (which is under development) that has a focus on improving inclusivity in our offerings, in particular in the areas of First Nations, Women in Sport, and All-Abilities basketball programs.”
As NAIDOC Week comes to an end, Williams said it remains highly important for all Australians to celebrate NAIDOC week and recognise our First Nations’ communities in the coming years.
“Whatever we are able to do as a basketball association is just one small part of celebrating and acknowledging the contributions First Nations people have made to our great sport,
“Admittedly, there is a particular push here at Diamond Valley because our NBL1 Women’s coach, Robbie Baldwin, and three of his players are Indigenous, so we wanted to make sure we do right by them.”