Jacqui Dover to make history as NBL’s first female Indigenous referee

The NBL’s first female Indigenous referee will make her debut during NBL Indigenous Round next week when the Cairns Taipans host the Brisbane Bullets.

Jacqui Dover will fittingly appear in the Indigenous Round opener on Wednesday, May 26 when the Taipans take on the Bullets at the Cairns Pop-Up Arena.

A proud Yugambeh woman, Dover earned her opportunity after working as a referee in the WNBL, while she also recently joined Basketball NSW as its Indigenous, cultural and linguistically diverse programs manager.

NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger believes Dover’s rise to the NBL referee ranks will be a defining moment for the league and encourage women to be involved in the game.

“We are delighted to announce that Jacqui will make her debut as an NBL referee during Indigenous Round,” Loeliger said.

“Jacqui thoroughly deserves this opportunity and we wish her all the best for what we hope will be a long career ahead as an NBL referee.”

The NBL’s Indigenous Round will coincide with National Reconciliation Week and follows the success of last year’s inaugural round, with all nine NBL clubs to again wear uniforms designed by Indigenous artists.

Brisbane’s Tamuri Wigness is one of four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players in the NBL along with Nate Jawai (Cairns), Keanu Pinder (Adelaide) and William McDowell-White (New Zealand).

Tamuri Wigness is inspiring the next generation of Indigenous basketballers. Picture: Kelly Barnes/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Wigness can’t wait to play, and inspire the next generation of Indigenous basketballers.

“I can guarantee all the Indigenous kids around the country will be watching,” Wigness said.
“It really gives me pride that we get to acknowledge our people.

“I get to have my family on my back, not just my Bullets family, but I’ll also have my people and my culture with me as well.
“For the entire NBL to acknowledge the Indigenous people of Australia is great, but this is about education and awareness as well.

“This round will provide the Indigenous community with so much inspiration to strive to be an NBL player.”

Loeliger says the NBL is focused on providing a strong pathway for Indigenous athletes to excel, on and off the court.

“We want to ensure the NBL’s Indigenous Round is meaningful, impactful and makes a significant positive influence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on and off the basketball court,” he said.

Nate Jawai shows off the special Indigenous jersey and shorts the Taipans will be wearing for the NBL Indigenous round with his niece Teyahua Bond, 13, daughter Kayah, 6, and niece Taryn Bond, 11. Picture: Stewart McLeanSource:News Corp Australia

“Since our inaugural Indigenous Round last season, the NBL has made important steps towards reconciliation and developing pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players.

“Our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan launched last year includes a number of commitments to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander player recruitment, retention and professional development.

“Basketball has been enriched by the contribution of Indigenous players, coaches, referees and administrators across Australia and New Zealand, and we will proudly celebrate this during Indigenous Round.”

Proceeds from NBL Indigenous Round jersey sales at nblstore.com.au will be invested in the development of the league’s new Indigenous pathway programs focused around player recruitment, development and retention.

The NBL has designed a new logo to mark the round based in partnership with Indigenous artist Chern’ee Sutton, who was commissioned by the league to paint a new work to mark the occasion.

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