Indigenous Nationals is a week-long multisport competition for indigenous student athletes, with the aim of bringing together student athletes from universities across Australia.
This year’s Indigenous Nationals was hosted by Walanga Muru at Macquarie University, Sydney, with mixed competition across four sports: touch football, basketball, netball, and volleyball.
The unique format of the competition means that each team plays in all four sports, with a diverse range of talents and skills on each university side.
UWA’s team, the Western Waagyls, have an impressive history behind them, having won seven championships (more than any other university) and placed runner-up four times.
Under team captains Wendi Torres and Dion Kickett, the Waagyls showed a mixture of experience alongside first-timers, with Brianna Ozies returning for her fifth competition.
The Waagyls were accompanied by School of Indigenous Studies staff Marilyn Strother and Brendon DeGois, as well as UWA Sport trainee Ben McGuire.
The team travelled to New South Wales with a uniform designed by UWA alumni and previous Indigenous Nationals athlete Jade Dolman, with a representation of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) and the different language groups of the team.
The Waagyls started strong in the competition, convincingly winning all three of their touch rugby group matches to finish top, before an unlucky 12-6 loss to the host university saw them exit in the quarter finals.
A similar trend emerged in the netball, where once again the Waagyls enjoyed an unbeaten run in the group before going down in the quarter finals, this time to Melbourne University.
The tournament finished up with basketball and volleyball, with a narrow 32-36 victory in the basketball helping to push the Waagyls into their first semi-final for the tournament, before a narrow loss to Macquarie again put them out of the running.
Meanwhile, in the volleyball, the team started strong with two wins, but a loss to Melbourne knocked them out of the tournament, subsequently ending their Nationals for 2018.
Speaking before the Nationals, team co-captain Wendi Torres said the team’s main focus was to have fun and see how far they could progress.
“Our goal heading to the games is just getting out there and having fun no matter what, having a go in our pools and hopefully getting to the finals.”
The 2018 Western Waagyls squad: Aaron Sutton, Brianna Ozies, Brianne Yarran, Dion Kickett (team captain), Jasper John, Jedd Bell, Joseph Torres, Kasey Whitehall, Lachlan Walley, Tamara Albert, Wendi Torres (team captain), and Zyhannah Bin Jalil
At the close of the event, Unisport Australia announced UWA as hosts of the 2019 Indigenous Nationals, to be held on campus from 16 to 29 June.
The event will see approximately 400 indigenous student athletes from around Australia travel to the Perth Campus, with UWA last hosting the event in 2014.
Graduate Officer, UWA Sport Marketing, Communication and Events