A GAME THAT’S HAPPY TO TAKE ALL IN ITS NET
NETBALL: the most inclusive sport going around. Females, males, people with a disability, openly gay women, mums… they are all chucking on bibs and giving netball a go (and excelling) at all levels. In 2016, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) released its AusPlay participation data that found 562,698 adult women participated in netball between October 2015 and September 2016. There were 324,177 girls playing and junior program NetSetGO had more than 80,000 participants. This month, Netball WA revealed that 11,950 youngsters played NetSetGO in the west, including 213 boys. Netball WA has recognised the boost in interest from males and has two boys divisions in the annual Association Championships taking place on the June long weekend. There’s also seven teams in the No Limits competition for players with an intellectual disability that became part of the Championships in 2016 after being launched in 2014. West Coast Fever recruit Jhaniele Fowler, from Jamaica, is one of the most talked-about players in the Super Netball league at the moment and is one of several players in the competition with a young child or children. Elite netballers have rarely shied away from hiding their sexuality too, acting as role models for their fans. Former Fever captain and current Magpie Ash Brazill married her partner Brooke Grieves in 2016 and gave Firebirds defender Laura Clemesha the confidence to chat about her own sexuality publicly. So that first sentence is a bold statement but I challenge someone to prove that another sport as popular as netball gives everyone a chance to shine.
Denise S. Cahill Editor
Volunteer coach Maddie Wood shooting for goal.