Indigenous cricket participation is on the rise thanks to strong role models like Julie Muir, coach of the Sydney Thunder Indigenous Women’s XI, supported by Homestar Finance.
Julie is a proud Wiradjuri woman who has been involved in the game as a player and leader since she was 10 years old.
“I’ve played grade cricket for nearly 20 years now. When I started there was only a handful of Indigenous cricketers and now the growth is just amazing,” she reflected.
A talented off-spinner, Julie was recently named in the Sydney Women’s First Grade Team of the Year, alongside Sydney Thunder’s Rene Farrell and Saskia Horley.
She has also represented New South Wales at the National Indigenous Cricket Championships (NICC) in Alice Springs.
Earlier this year, she captained the NSW Indigenous Women’s team claimed to its 12th consecutive title.
The annual tournament provides unique opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cricketers and is a time each year to shine a light on the strong contribution that Indigenous Australians have made, and continue to make, to the sport.
“We’ve been going to the NICC for the last eleven years. It’s the best week. Not only do you play cricket, but that’s where you build great friendships and you see some really good quality cricket.
“It’s also about showing the younger ones what it means to be Aboriginal and embrace the culture, we don’t just play cricket. This year I organised a community visit to a school which was absolutely amazing. My group of girls there, most of them were still in high school so they got to see how different it is to be at school in Alice Springs compared to being in a school in New South Wales.”
An experienced player, coach and leader, Julie prides herself on being a role model for young Aboriginal people.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for the young girls and they’ve got a lot of respect for me. It’s just about helping them to get to know their culture and encouraging them to let the girls they play cricket with at their clubs know how important it is to represent their mobs.
“There’s a lot of other cultures out there playing as well. It’s all about multiculturalism and everyone respecting each other.”
Sydney Thunder is committed to Indigenous engagement and through a variety of initiatives and programs, the club strives provide opportunities for Indigenous cricketers across the Thunder Nation.
Julie is supportive of the club’s efforts to make a meaningful difference in the community.
“The kids in year seven to year eleven, they’re the kids that we need to be tapping into and letting them know that there’s a pathway out there for them to come through the system and one day be the next Ashleigh Gardner or Dan Christian or Josh Lalor or D’Arcy Short. All those players in the Big Bash, they can look at them and say one day that could be me. Having that exposure out there is fantastic.
“But just being involved in sport is good for them and keeps them fit and you can make really good friends who sometimes turn into family. Some of the kids who came through my (NICC) team, they were quite shy at the start and by the end of the week they were completely different, they had more confidence in themselves and were able to talk in interviews.
“Hopefully a lot of the other states get involved in developing Indigenous players and making the game bigger and better.”
For more information on the club’s Indigenous engagement programs, please contact Sydney Thunder.