Jacinta Tonkin will celebrate a special milestone when she walks onto the court this Friday night, as she makes her 200th appearance in the NFNL netball competition.
Tonkin has been a stalwart of the Bundoora netball program since they entered the league as the Bundoora Comets back in 2012.
As a player, coach and mentor, she’s overseen the Bulls win three winter netball competitions, including the Section 3 flag in 2018, as well as five summer netball premierships between 2015 and 2021.
Tonkin was also the league’s Section 1 best and fairest in both 2014 and 2016 and the Section 2 best and fairest in 2012.
Speaking to NFNL.org.au on the eve of her milestone game, Tonkin praised the club’s effort to continue to grow in the netball space each year, as the Bulls now boast the most teams in this season’s winter netball competition.
“To be a part of a club like Bundoora has been amazing, it’s been just as awesome to see how we’ve grown, how [the] players have improved and just how we’ve helped them achieve that improvement,” she said.
Tonkin comes from a family of netballers, with her late mother Kate McGillivray a well-known umpire and player in the netball community.
As a junior, she was involved in the Plenty Valley Netball Association (PVNA), a local junior competition running each Saturday morning at RMIT.
She then became associated with the PVNA representative team, the Plenty Valley Comets, winning a division 1 premiership and coaching both senior and junior sides.
As well as her work with Bundoora, Tonkin’s involvement in the NFNL netball representative program has been a big factor of the program’s success in recent years.
While the victories have been memorable to look back on, Tonkin got more enjoyment out of developing and coaching some of the best netballers in the league.
“It’s a different experience [being in the representative team], because we’ve got very experienced players that are coming together for two or three training sessions and then getting straight out onto the court, it’s unique,” she said.
“What has been great is seeing the development in the younger players over the years and eventually watching them being selected in those teams, it’s really great to see.”
With the NFNL netball competition expanding to 13 winter sections seven summer sections, Tonkin was proud to see the sport being played by so many people.
“It’s been awesome to see, compared to when we started, you just have to look at how many stadiums they play at, big stadiums not little ones, it’s just grown absolutely immensely and I couldn’t be happier,” she said.
As she passes the illustrious 200 game milestone on Friday night, Tonkin hasn’t given too much thought about leaving the court as a player, saying she still get’s so much enjoyment out of playing with the Bulls.
“I certainly won’t be in our top team, but hopefully I can still put it out there at a good level,” she said.
“I’m satisfied with my outlet, but we’ll wait and see what happens.”