Hardball is a 2019 Australian children's television series that screened on ABC Me. The series is produced by Northern Pictures with Screen Australia in association with Create NSW and the Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF).
When Mikey moves to Western Sydney, he finds himself in the thick of the ultra-competitive, schoolyard game of handball. He is befriended by misfits Jerry and Salwa, who join forces to train him to become the "sweetest-bestest-acest" handball champ that Western Sydney has ever seen. They aim to topple current king of the court, Tiffany and her minions, Lily and Lance.
- Alliterative Name: Mikey Mahaki
- Alpha Bitch: Tiffany Steel-Stone is the reigning queen of the schoolyard, mostly through her fathers' wealth.
- Ball Cannon: In "Too Many Cooks", one of Salwa's techniques for training Mikey in handball is to stand him in from of a tennis ball machine and launching tennis balls at him for him to block: gradually increasing the speed until he is being belted by them. Jerry eventually intervenes by unplugging the machine.
- Couch Gag: Every episode the closing credits end with one of the cast telling a 'dad joke' direct to camera.
- Finish Dialogue in Unison: Tiffany's dads Mr. Steel and Mr. Stone have a habit of doing this.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Whenever Salwa gets upsets, she swears but substitutes food-related terms (such as "Pistachios!") for any actual profanities. Both Mikey and Mahaki, Sr. admire her ability to swear without swearing.
- Hairpin Lockpick: After being locked in the toilet during the accidental Lockdown in "The Odd Couple", Ms. Crapper attempts to unlock the door with a hairpin before realising the futility of trying to pick an electronic lock.
- Has Two Daddies: Tiffany, the resident Alpha Bitch, is the adopted daughter of a pair of gay men, and she has them wrapped around her little finger.
- Hooking the Keys: After Kevin's failed trial of digital locks puts the school into Lockdown in "The Odd Cpuple", Mikey and Tiffany work together to fashion a fishing rod, a tennis racquet, wire hangers and duct tape to fashion a reaching device to lift the key to the override box from the caretaker's storeroom so they can shut the system off.
- I Have This Friend: In "Too Many Crooks", Ms. Crapper hands Mikey a stack of merchandise to have signed by his father. When Mikey asks if is all for her, she quickly says that some of it is for her friend: Ms. Brapper. After she leaves, Mikey Mikey turns to the camera and says that he is pretty sure that 'Ms. Brapper' is Ms. Crapper.
- Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: In "Sorry Salwa", Tiff loses a handball battle to Salwa, so she uploads an embarrassing video of Ms Crapper dancing - and frames Salwa. Salwa is banned from handball at school.
- Lockdown: In "The Odd Couple", a failed trial of digital locks on the doors at school results in the longest 29 minutes ever. Everyone is locked in their rooms, Ms Crapper included. Mikey and Tiffany realise they are not so different after all.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Lance is a complete failure as Tiff's evil minion: being unfailingly polite, helpful and supportive to archenemy Mikey.
- New Transfer Student: Mikey moves from New Zealand to Sydney when his father gets a trial with a Sydney rugby league team. The first episode has his first day at his new school in West Sydney, where he is inadvertently thrust into the Serious Business of schoolyard handball.
- One-Word Title
- Pet's Homage Name: Tween-Alpha Bitch Tiffany owns a pair of cavoodles named Ricky and Martin.
- Pronouncing My Name for You: Ms. Crapper's name is pronounced 'Cray-PER', as Mikey finds out to his cost the first time he meets her and reads her name off her name-tag.
- Serious Business: A regional school student handball tournament is treated with a seriousness usually reserved for international sporting competitions.
- To Be a Master: The show follows the quest of young Mikey Mahaki, and his two misfit friends/trainers, on a quest to become the world's (or, at least, Western Sydney's) greatest handball player.
- Token Trio: Centres around Mikey (Maori male) and his two best friends/coaches: Jerry (a disabled white male) and Salwa (a Middle Eastern female).
- Unskilled, but Strong: This is Mikey's problem at the beginning of the series. He has great strength and can serve a handball with more force than anyone else in the school, but has no finesse and and almost zero control of his serves.
- Wrench Wench: 'Auntie' Mahaki is a mechanic who specializes in restoring and customizing hot rods. Salwa is in awe of her, and Jerry seems to be a little bit smitten.