University of NSW (UNSW) has been well represented at the 2021 UniSport Indigenous Nationals, with Team UNSW ranking 6th overall for the event. The annual event returned to its founding location in Newcastle, NSW for the 25th edition after the pandemic postponed the 2020 Nationals.
The UNSW team was brought together from a range of mobs and faculties, yet all students were brought together by the motivation of winning and representing their people, faculties and as well as the Bedegal people on which UNSW Kensington stands. UNSW Business School was well represented with three students: Taine Martin (Biripi), Tyrese Carr-White (Wiradjuri) and Charlotte Bridge (Kija).
The tournament provides Indigenous tertiary students the opportunity to compete in a range of sports including Netball, Volleyball, Touch Football and Basketball. More importantly it is an opportunity for students to mingle with other successful Indigenous students from across Australia, an opportunity that UNSW Business School student Tyrese Carr-White was grateful to be provided with, expressing that “there was an immediate sense of belonging”.
On Day One of the tournament, competing in Netball the team performed well with first up wins against Adelaide University and the University of New England before losing to the University of Newcastle to finish 7th overall. Charlotte Bridge was voted Team UNSW’s Netball MVP for her impressive shooting display.
The team backed up with another impressive showing in Touch Football on Day Two, with victories against Curtin University, The University of Wollongong and a tie with Western Sydney University. Points Differential was all that stopped Team UNSW from making an appearance in the Semi Finals.
The team again played strongly in Volleyball, and were led by team MVP Tyrese Carr-White with victories against Macquarie University and Southern Cross University. After three days of the tournament, Team UNSW had ranked 7th, 6th and 7th for each day of the tournament, yet saved their best for last in the Basketball competition.
Team UNSW played with pride and their voices could be heard right across the stadium as they cheered for every point and supported their team mates. UNSW dominated their pool matches with strong victories against Queensland University of Technology, University of Technology Sydney and the University of Newcastle. Team UNSW again competed hard for every minute of the semi-final against Macquarie University however were defeated 12-8, and finished the basketball competition in 3rd place.
As the Tournament closed UNSW finished with an overall ranking of 6th place out of 20 teams, yet their impressive performance was inspired by much more. Bridge says that “we went together as strangers but came back together” and was one of the driving forces behind the teams on field success and building meaningful and life-long connections as a team.
The invaluable experience of attending the 2021 Nationals will continue to benefit our UNSW Students going forward their studies. Students have formed bonds both within and external to the UNSW community that can support their community and professional aspirations. “Seeing so many other determined, aspiring Indigenous youth has inspired me”, says Carr-White.
Bridge also says that she was proud to be a part of a special event that brings together Indigenous students from across Australia, and says that “the spirit of the games, just reminded of how special it is for mob to come together and celebrate culture”. While a sporting event, the Indigenous Nationals is a celebration of culture and Indigenous excellence. Team UNSW should be extremely proud of the way they have represented their mobs, faculties and the UNSW community. Congratulations to all players and organisers involved in representing the UNSW’s deadly team at the 2021 Indigenous Nationals and we hope for more great results in 2022.
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