Australia’s newest national sporting team nickname has arrived, as the Australian Men’s Netball Team launched their brand as the Kelpies in time for the upcoming Trans Tasman Series.
After a year-long project to find the brand, the hard-working dog of the Aussie outback won out as the name that resonated most across agency, alumni and executive teams. It also won the public vote when FoxNetball fans voted it up during last years national team naming competition.
The nicknaming of national sporting teams has become a permanent fixture in elite ranks, where national bodies will use a concept that is either quintessentially or natively Australian. The Kelpie is synonymous with the Australian outback and lands, while having several analogous links back to the sport of netball.
Kelpies Head Coach Nerida Stewart welcome the naming of the national team she leads, and was quick to find links between the kelpies on the farm and those that will take to the netball court.
“When you think about the role of a Kelpie on the farm, you see an animal with immense speed, great smarts and is durable and disciplined in getting the job done. The type of netball we like putting out on court is not dissimilar - so we think the Kelpies captures who we are in a really implicit way.” Stewart said.
The brand will also look to accelerate more growth in male participation in netball, after recent AusSport data has shown category growth of over 200% to PCP.
“As a team we know part of our job is to give young boys starting out in netball a place to aspire to be. I for one can just imagine the marketability of a Kelpie to boys playing out in associations, and can’t wait to be turning up to games and seeing our next generation in Kelpies merch cheering on the boys. It (the brand) really is going to provide look-through from grassroots to national team.” Stewart said.
AMMNA Head of Game Development and Strategy Heath Brown highlighted the importance in having a brand to support the category priorities relating to integration and commercialisation.
“We wanted our history captured by a progressive brand name that Australians can connect with, and we think Kelpies is something the whole netball eco-system can feel a part of. It offers sponsors an exciting emerging brand to partner with, and participants a name to feel connected to culturally.” Brown said.
The male national netball team largely existed off grid until a post-pandemic collaboration between Netball Australia and AMMNA saw history being made in 2022. The national men’s and women’s team toured together for the first time, which also saw the first ever mainstream broadcast of international men’s netball competition aired. World Netball also featured the first ever division for men at their Fast 5 tournament.
With a second tour to take place in coming months, the Kelpies will be the team to watch as they debut their new name to international audiences. Fans can follow the Insta handle aussiekelpies for tour information and for the launch of a retrospective Capped Program. This will see every AMMNA national men’s player since the 1980s capped as a Kelpie, honouring our heritage as we grow the game from one generation for the next. Fans will also soon be able to purchase Kelpies merchandise from the AMMNA website www.ammna.com.au in coming months.