Talented Gumbaynggirr sportswoman Anika Learoyd has signed a two-year contract with the women's Big Bash cricketing team, the Sydney Thunder.
Ms Learoyd, who has been an integral part of the NSW Women’s Indigenous team with her representation at the Homestar Finance Thunder Indigenous XI, has taken up the deal ahead of the upcoming BBL season.
She said that signing on with the Thunder meant a lot to both her and her community.
“Some of my fondest on and off field memories are from the NICC (National Indigenous Cricket Championship) up in Alice Springs each year," said Ms Learoyd.
"The time spent there is beyond special to me and has contributed a lot to my knowledge of and pride in my culture.”
The Thunder contract is the first for the 18-year-old and has followed what was an exciting seven month lead up, which included a NSW Breakers debut in February and a contract offer from the Breakers in June.
On Friday, Ms Learoyd told NITV News that several things influenced her decision to sign on with the Thunder, including her close relationship with other players and the work the clob does in developing younger players.
Ms Learoyd said she found the club's commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement appealing, and that was one of the main things that motivated her decision to sign with them.
The Sydney Thunder provides ongoing opportunities for Indigenous cricketers to celebrate culture and engage with community, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander T20 Cup.
“I am a very strong supporter of Thunder's work with and around the Indigenous communities, I absolutely love any opportunity to be able to reconnect with my culture and help young Indigenous kids fall in love with sport like I did,” Learoyd told NITV News.