Our story is a chronicle of women’s sport within South Australia and how it developed after the Second World War. It is an insight into how the traditions of our club developed, along with a reminder that we are all simply guardians of our game. Much has changed for Tango over the years, such as name changes, mergers and the manner that netball has grown in its profile and position. However, one thing remains the same, our drive for success.
The Origins of the Club
Tango Netball Club had its origins from the St. Barnabas Church of England teams based at Kilkenny, a western suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. In 1947, St. Barnabas entered their two teams in the South Australian Netball Association (S.A.N.A.), under the names of Raiders 1 and Raiders 2. They played under the colours of Tangerine and Brown.
SANA however would not accept the two Raiders teams under the same name, so St. Barnabas was informed that the usual thing to do at that time was to select a new name for one of the teams derived from the club colours. We decided to combine tangerine and brown and the TANGO name was born. About three years after this new formation, the Raiders team disbanded.
New Colours for Tango
Also in 1947, a combined State church team made up of SANA representative players was formed, taking the name of IKONS and wearing the colours of navy and white. This team was disbanded in 1950 after three seasons. TANGO applied for the use of these colours in 1950, but there was no navy material available as war time rationing was still in place. Therefore, we decided that our colours would be black instead of navy and white. We commenced the new season of 1951 in these colours.
The first Tango team in 1947
We develop within Netball
A newspaper article about the first Tango team in 1947 reported that Tango, the newcomers to the women’s basketball (the old term for netball) competition had settled down quickly and were second on the premiership list in B grade, having lost only two matches. One of their players, Shirley Groves, playing in defence had even been chosen in the South Australian State team to represent the State in the ‘All-Australian’ tournament in Brisbane in August of that year. Even at that early stage in its history, the very first year it joined the competition, Tango had a representative in the State team. And practically every year since, there has been one or more representatives from Tango in the South Australian team and more importantly, also in the Australian team.
The Merger of the Golden Grove Firebirds and the Tango Netball Club
The Firebirds were formed in 1983, when Bruce Easom’s daughters Melissa & Rebecca wanted to play netball. He could not find a club that would take both of them, so they formed their own club. The team played indoors at Turrumurra in the first two seasons and played in the finals.
The club developed over the next 3 to 5 years and grew to 10 teams with two very successful division I sides in U15″s & U13’s that had accumulated 6 premierships.
Timeline to the merger with Tango
1989: Firebirds saw a huge growth in the club with again the top teams winning premierships and their top side with many juniors in them playing at senior level. Discussions continued with the council and they secured the two courts at Golden Grove. Their name changed to Golden Grove Firebirds. At this stage the club had grown to 20 teams.
1990: The Golden Grove Firebirds moved to Golden Grove and played in the Districts competition, teams numbered 24 at this stage.
1991: The Golden Grove Firebirds again saw the need to find a level for their players to continue to grow and they commenced discussions with Kay Partington (Tango State League Coach). Kay was extremely impressed with the talent of juniors and expressed her concern for the lack of juniors at Tango.
1992: Two Golden Grove Firebird sides playing at Adelaide Metropolitan under the Tango Banner. One U17 & one U15. Both sides were extremely successful in their first year and this help cement the merger. Discussions continued with the council on additional courts.
1993: The merger happened with the 29 Golden Grove Firebirds sides merging into the Tango Netball Club. Bruce Easom became President of Tango at the end of this year, as the construction began for the new court complex as it stands to this day.
1998: The Tango Netball Team are premiers within the State League Competition.
In the local competition, since its inception, Tango has played in twenty-eight grand finals out of fifty-four. This is a record not equalled by any other club in the SANA. Tango’s State League team’s reputation is far reaching throughout the netball circles. We are confident that we will continue to develop and place ourselves at the forefront of South Australian Netball.