Round Eight marks the Suncorp Super Netball league's Indigenous Round and Sunshine Coast Lightning will host Collingwood Magpies at 3pm Saturday 15 June at USC Stadium.
Indigenous Round aims to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture within the sport and highlight the importance of participation and involvement out in the local communities.
Lightning have collaborated with local Kabi Kabi artist Lyndon Davis to create an Indigenous dress that will be worn by all 10 players on Saturday and the design has special significance to the traditional owners of the land.
Community and locality underpin Davis's artwork, which incorporates Bunya Geometry – a symbol that has an intrinsic connection to the Sunshine Coast.
The design is an extension on last year's dress which focused on the local sacred Bunya tree - this year the artwork includes more detail on the Bunya fruit and seeds.
"The history of the Bunya is what brought people together... one of the biggest land gatherings in the world took place in the Maleny, Mapleton, Montville, Blackall ranges," Davis said.
"The people that lived here before us had an affinity for the Bunya, it sustained their lifestyle for countless generations.
"The placings of the Bunya on the dress and the symbols around the Bunya fruit represent the netball positions.
"It's connection to country, custodianship, community... it's all those things that the pattern signifies, harmony, coming together."
The dress was created in collaboration with the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the First Nations Partnerships division and produced by GAME clothing, Lightning's official apparel partner.
Lightning player Cara Koenen considers Indigenous Round particularly significant, having grown up in rural Queensland in Magnetic Island and has seen first-hand how culture and sport are linked to inclusivity.
"Lyndon came into training yesterday and told us the story behind the design and what each element represents so this is definitely a special week for us," Koenen said.
"The focus behind the design is the Bunya tree which is a sacred tree.
"He did his research on netball and made something really special for what we have here at Lightning.
"I think this week is a very special one for all teams across the board but for us in particular, to give back to the people that has historically been associated with the Sunshine Coast Region."
This year, Suncorp Super Netball league will recognise the United Nations' International Year of Indigenous Languages, with a uniquely designed match ball to feature in all games.
The match ball incorporates both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and lists the main language groups represented by members of Netball Australia's Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group – along with the traditional languages of the lands on which round eight home games will be played.
Lightning's match day experience will further incorporate traditional activities led by local Indigenous groups, culminating in a Welcome To Country presentation on court immediately before the match.
Today Lightning players also led a Confident Girls Indigenous Clinic on the Sunshine Coast, encouraging local Indigenous children to get active, learn new skills and get involved in netball.
Participants at the clinic have also been given the exclusive opportunity to attend this weekend's game and play on court during three quarter time.
Sunshine Coast Lightning would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which this event takes place, the Kabi Kabi People, pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people present today.