Indigenous netball star Josie Janz has revealed the hurt she felt when she was racially abused by a rival team's supporters after a West Coast Fever game last year.

Joining with West Coast forward Sharrod Wellingham yesterday to promote this weekend's State celebration of indigenous sport, Janz said she and Fever teammate Eboni Beckford-Chambers had been targeted with racist rants on Twitter after beating the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in Perth.

Standing proud: West Coast forward Sharrod Wellingham and netballer Josie Janz. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

The 26-year-old, who was born on Thursday Island, said she had been stung by the abuse, but used it to educate her teammates and young people she mentored in her work with the David Wirrpanda Foundation.

"It happened . . . (but) you've just got to ignore them, they're just people who are misinformed," Janz, who will play in the Fever's first dedicated indigenous match at Challenge Stadium against the Central Pulse on Monday night, said.

"It's given our team a starting point to talk about things because it is such a hairy topic. Some of the girls will read it in the newspaper and in the media and will say to me, 'Is it actually racist to call someone a gorilla or an ape?'

"I'll explain that it was not that long ago that Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders were in the category of flora and fauna, so comparing us to dark animals is in line with a lot of that.

"It's been great being able to use netball as a vehicle to be able to squash some of those ideas in terms of racism."

Wellingham, whose mother is Aboriginal, said he would represent his family and people in the Eagles' match against North Melbourne tomorrow at Patersons Stadium, as part of the AFL's indigenous round.

He said he had never been racially abused, but implored fans to simply celebrate the indigenous talent in front of them.

"People aren't as aggressively racist as they were in the past, but most people think that it's OK to have a bit of a joke around or say something a bit wrong that they probably shouldn't," Wellingham, whose grandmother is part of the Stolen Generation, said.

He said he was proud to have become Collingwood's first, and still only, Aboriginal premiership player when he was part of their 2010 grand final win.

The West Australian

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