Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON michael. thomp­son@ news. com. au

THE Townsville Fire and Aus­tralian Army have joined forces ahead of the up­com­ing Women’s Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League sea­son.

The army has signed a one- year ma­jor part­ner­ship with the Fire, who will now wear a new- look uni­form show­cas­ing the army’s Ris­ing Sun em­blem.

Fire coach Clau­dia Bras­sard, cap­tain Suzy Batkovic, Ma­jor Gen­eral Kathryn Toohey and Com­man­der 3rd Brigade, Bri­gadier Chris Field, made the an­nounce- ment at yes­ter­day’s North Queens­land De­fence Women’s Lead­er­ship Fo­rum.

Bras­sard said hav­ing the army as a club part­ner made per­fect sense given Townsville’s sta­tus as a gar­ri­son city and shared val­ues.

“The two or­gan­i­sa­tions have a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties and we’re re­ally ex­cited to be work­ing with the Aus­tralian Army,” she said.

“You look at what we rep­re­sent, which is hav­ing healthy, pos­i­tive fe­male role mod­els in the com­mu­nity, and I think that’s what the army prides it­self on as well.

“The mate­ship and ca­ma­raderie that ex­ists in the Aus­tralian Army is cer­tainly some­thing we try to have in our team as well. Hav­ing the Ris­ing Sun on our uni­form is a nice sym­bol of pride and unity that hope­fully our play­ers can take some mo­ti­va­tion from.

“And the Aus­tralian Army rep­re­sents mak­ing sure you’re work­ing at your best and try­ing your best, which is what we try to do ev­ery time we hit the court.”

The Fire and the army’s 3rd Brigade will per­form com­mu­nity work to­gether as part of the part­ner­ship, and also en­gage in pro­grams to re­duce do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for indige­nous girls and women.

“There is a very unique re­la­tion­ship be­tween 3rd Brigade and the North Queens­land com­mu­nity, and also be­tween the Fire and the North Queens­land com­mu­nity, so … it’s an ab­so­lutely great ac­tiv­ity,” Maj Gen Toohey said of the part­ner­ship.

“There’s lots of par­al­lels be­tween the two or­gan­i­sa­tions. The army and the Fire are ac­tively en­gaged in the North Queens­land com­mu­nity. I think both or­gan­i­sa­tions feel pas­sion­ately about indige­nous com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and we’re both very ac­tive when it comes to pre­vent­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

“But most im­por­tantly we are about … in­spir­ing and as­sist­ing our women to achieve their per­sonal best.”

Maj Gen Toohey said the part­ner­ship would also help in­spire women within the Aus­tralian Army.

“This is the start of the part­ner­ship. I’d like to see our women look to the Fire as role mod­els,” she said.

STAND­ING FIRM: Fire cap­tain Suzy Batkovic with Gun­ner Han­nah An­gove and Gun­ner Emalee Crapella at RAAF Base Townsville. Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

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