For the first time in the club’s history, the Melbourne Vixens have named a Number 1 Ticket Holder for the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season.
Essendon forward, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, and his mum, netball coach Jane McDonald, have been named as the inaugural Number 1 Ticket Holders of the Melbourne Vixens, and will take on the role in a joint capacity. Despite the McDonald-Tipungwuti name being synonymous with Australian Rules Football, Anthony’s first sport when he moved to Victoria was actually netball.
Being from the AFL-mad Tiwi Islands, Anthony hadn’t heard of netball until Jane – his mum, a sports teacher and coach – introduced it to the students of Tiwi College. Like many of his classmates, Anthony was surprised at how much he loved the game, and so when he moved to Victoria, he joined the team at his school; Chairo Christian School in Drouin.
Jane confirms that Anthony took to the game immediately; initially as a speedy wing attack, but later as an aspiring shooter.
“As he got more used to the game, he came up to me at school and said ‘I want to play goal attack’ and I said ‘well, you just don’t get to play goal attack, you’ve got to be able to shoot goals, and you can’t shoot goals’. And he said ‘fine, I’ll learn’,’’ Jane said.
Despite being raised in New South Wales, Jane has always followed Victorian teams when it comes to netball - first the Melbourne Kestrels and Phoenix, and later of course, the Vixens – a love which she instilled on her family.
“One day Anthony said, ‘it’d be really good mum, if we go to a game’. And I said ‘well get your schedule out and have a look’, and basically that’s what he did: he went through his schedule last year and he said ‘right, we can go to this one, we can go to this one’…so that’s how that all started.’’
Jane and Anthony have attended numerous games together since, juggling a hectic AFL schedule with the Vixens’ on-court fixture.
“I love the sport and I want to promote (it) more…to build the game up to a standard [of coverage] which the girls deserve,’’ Anthony said. “I’m really keen to get involved [as the Melbourne Vixens’ Number 1 Ticket Holder] and start building and put it out there and get other AFL fans involved in netball, and hopefully I can do that and encourage young kids to play more netball at school, not just footy or cricket. So, I’m really excited to get on board and help out with that.’’
Netball Victoria CEO, Rosie King, said she was thrilled that Jane and Anthony had accepted the role as Number 1 Ticket Holders, and were looking forward to having them around the club more this year.
“We couldn’t think of a more suitable pair to join the netball family as the Melbourne Vixens inaugural Number 1 Ticket Holders,” King said.
“The wider playing and coaching group agreed Anthony and Jane were a great fit for this role at the club, with their values and love for the game of netball clearly aligning with ours.
“We know that like our players and their families Jane and Anthony will have very hectic schedules throughout the winter months, so we are so thankful to have them involved when they can be at Melbourne Vixens’ match days, and other off-court opportunities.”
Anthony and Jane will attend as many Melbourne Vixens’ match days as Anthony’s AFL schedule will allow in 2020, with the option to continue as the club’s Number 1 Ticket Holders for the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball season.
Join Jane and Anthony as Melbourne Vixens members in 2020: melbournevixens.com.au/membership/membership-packages