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7 – 14 July 2024
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Donnell Wallam

National NAIDOC Sportsperson Award Category
Donnell Wallam

Donnell Wallam is a proud Noongar woman from Korijekup, Western Australia, a small town 2 hours south of Boorloo (Perth). Donnell is a professional netballer and sharp shooter for the Australian Diamonds and the Queensland Firebirds. She was only the second Indigenous Suncorp Super Netball Player and third Indigenous woman to play netball for Australia.  She is one of the most well-known and respected goalers in the Suncorp Super Netball competition.  

Donnell was picked as a replacement player for the Queensland Firebirds’ 2022 Suncorp Super Netball campaign, where she scored 519 goals and was the fourth-highest scorer in the competition. Her tally included 26 super shots (two-point goals) and 35 offensive rebounds, the third-highest tally in the 2022 season. This led her to be a training partner for Australia’s netball squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.  

Donnell takes every opportunity to share her culture and identity, and revealed a unique Deadly Choices uniform designed by Aboriginal artist Rachael Sarra, in the Suncorp Super Netball’s First Nations round in March this year. 

Donnell also exemplified incredible strength and staunch advocacy late last year when she sought an exemption from wearing an Australian Diamonds dress featuring the logo of sponsor Hancock Prospecting. This was due to the attitude deceased company founder, Lang Hancock, had expressed towards Aboriginal people on television in the 1980s. While the company pulled the $15 million sponsorship, four days later, Donnell debuted for the Diamonds in a Test match against England in Newcastle, coming off the bench to score the winning goal in the last seconds of the game. Additionally, Visit Victoria provided sponsorship of $15 million to secure the 2022 Super Netball grand final as well as several Diamonds matches and camps in the lead up to the 2026 Commonwealth Games. 

Donnell and her Queensland Firebirds teammates are active members of the community who attend and participate in netball coaching clinics in regional and remote Queensland. Both Donnell and the Firebirds engage with the local community, business leaders, and inspire young netballers to chase their dreams.  

Donnell is also a proud ambassador for Deadly Choices. Together with her Firebirds teammate Gabi Simpson, the deadly duo empower Mob to make positive health decisions, and unveiled the Firebirds’ new Deadly Choices shirt earlier this year. 

Netball has given Donnell the opportunity to be an advocate for her community and culture and to be a strong role model for young people all over the Country. Donnell has used her status as a professional athlete to progress and advocate pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander netballers. Donnell embraces the opportunity to highlight sporting issues such as athlete pathways as well as important broader social issues.


Video created by Blacklock Media

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