The 2014 ANZ Championship Grand Final will long be remembered in the small South Australian town of Crafers.
The township, some 700 kilometres north-west of Melbourne’s Hisense Arena, was swept up in Grand Final fever last weekend after a lucky group of local junior ANZ NetSetGO netballers from the Crafers Netball Club, won an experience of a lifetime.
As winners of the national ‘Write to Rav’ competition, the local netball club were invited to Melbourne by ANZ to participate in the Grand Final, presenting the premiership medals and meeting Commonwealth Games bound Kim Ravaillion.
“It’s hard to put the experience into words, we had such a great time, it was the first time for many of the kids being away from their parents and travelling on planes, ” Crafers Netball Club’s ANZ NetSetGO coordinator Jess Tamblyn said.
“It was so fantastic for these kids to have this experience at the start of their netball lives, I feel this experience is going to consolidate their love of netball for the rest of their lives, they’ll never forget this trip.”
The Adelaide Hills community, with a population of around 2000 people, were glued to the Grand Final between the Melbourne Vixens and Queensland Firebirds.
“The response we got from back home was phenomenal; we were constantly getting text messages and emails during the game from family and friends at home saying how fantastic it looked on the coverage,” Tamblyn said.
“We had groups get together to watch it, there was a heap of people at our local pub to watch it and apparently the atmosphere there was pretty awesome, they were all clapping and cheering when they saw us and there were even tears from family and friends when they saw their kids on the TV.”
Concerned by a lack of junior netballers coming through the club ranks, the Crafers Netball Club committee called an action meeting where it was decided that the club will form an ANZ NetSetGO Centre to attract to players.
“ANZ NetSetGO has saved our club,” Tamblyn said in her competition entry.
“Two years ago our first ANZ NetSetGO program brought 20 new players to Crafers. This year, myself and club president Kirsten Hawthorn fought back tears when our two 9/Under teams took the court – the first 9/Under team the club has fielded in 10 years.”
Now optimistic about the club’s future, Tamblyn said the Grand Final experience will only add to the strength of the club moving forward.
“We were all a part of it, including the kids, family and friends, and you can tell they’re going to become big club people now because we’ve all made such a great connection through this experience.
“Winning this prize has made all the hard work, time and effort in setting up the ANZ NetSetGO Centre worth it, a brilliant reward for years of hard work.”