Jemma Mi Mi (middle) was left on the bench.
Jemma Mi Mi (middle) was left on the bench.

Indigenous netballer snubbed on special day

Former coach turned commentator Sue Gaudion has hit out after Super Netball's only Indigenous Australian player did not get a single second of game time during the league's Indigenous Round.

Queensland Firebirds star Jemma Mi Mi was left on the bench for the entirety of her side's win over Melbourne Vixens on Sunday, sparking questions about her treatment as Lara Dunkley was preferred at wing attack all match.

In the dying stages of the Firebirds' 64-58 victory, with Mi Mi pacing the sideline, Gaudion said: "Lara Dunkley looking across to Jemma Mi Mi.

"I know she's only a youngster, but if it was me I'd walk off the court and let Mi Mi come on. Not to be."

Former Australian captain and fellow Nine commentator Liz Ellis agreed.

Gaudion expanded on her thoughts on social media after full time.

"I guess we still haven't got this fully right," Gaudion wrote on Twitter in response to a post about Mi Mi's absence.

"Look it would be great to see her on the court and sadly even at the end the opportunity was missed. But at the same time the Firebirds had plenty to play for and that win will be attributed as much to Mi Mi even with her not on the court."

Mi Mi didn’t get the chance to strut her stuff on Sunday.
Mi Mi didn’t get the chance to strut her stuff on Sunday.

Gaudion also defended herself in the face of accusations he was blaming Dunkley for Mi Mi's snub.

"I don't believe we shifted blame onto her at all and you are not helping the narrative by saying that!!!" Gaudion tweeted.

"I think if you listen again I mention that Dunkley is a young player alluding to her possible inexperience or lack of awareness in that moment!!!!

"I think all athletes and all coaches should have enough awareness and education to understand that moment, or to be honest at an earlier opportunity."

Fellow Indigenous netballer Beryl Friday, who plays in England, said players are often benched for reasons the public can't see, but was still upset at Mi Mi's snub.

"When players are benched, it's often for reasons we can't see ie injury, player match ups etc," she tweeted.

"But being the only FNs player in the comp can be draining. There is a lot of pressure and expectation. Right now, I just hope Jem is OK.

"To be very clear, I am deeply disappointed Jemma didn't play today."

Mi Mi debuted for the Firebirds in 2017 and is ranked third for assists at the club this season.

She has played 383 minutes in 2020 but coach Roselee Jencke has been preferring Dunkley at WA in recent weeks.


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