New South Wales have defended their title and two new state teams were welcomed into the fold of the 2016 Marie Little OAM Shield, Netball Australia’s national championship event for women with an intellectual disability.
New South Wales defeated the South Australia Rubies by 10 goals in the Grand Final at Netball Central, with a stand full of supporters in blue.
The event, supported by Netball Australia’s National Inclusion and Diversity Partner, Australia Post, was held over two days with each team participating in a Round Robin format, before a finals series concluded the event.
The Rubies won their Semi Final to reach the Grand Final just half an hour earlier, in a tightly contested battle with Victoria’s All Abilities team. The Rubies were victorious by just one goal, which was scored on the final buzzer. New South Wales reached the Grand Final following a resounding 15-goal win in their Semi Final against Queensland.
The tournament, in its third year since being renamed to honour South Australian netball inclusion champion and AUSRAPID founder Marie Little OAM, looked distinctly different in 2016 from previous years.
With the addition of two new teams from Queensland and Western Australia, placing fourth and fifth respectively, new players, skills and supporters were added to the already memorable weekend. Sport Inclusion Australia CEO Robyn Smith believed the growth of the tournament paid homage to its namesake, Marie Little OAM.
“The 2016 Marie Little OAM Shield surpassed all previous tournaments to date. The addition of Western Australia and Queensland teams to the competition was the icing on the cake,” said Smith.
“Marie’s passion was netball and to be able to include everyone in the game she loved was important to her. Her legacy lives on thanks to the commitment of Netball Australia and the State Organisations to the One Netball philosophy.”
Another new addition to the 2016 event was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, with coaches casting their votes for opposing team players at the conclusion of round matches. The inaugural MVP was Nicole Skerman from Queensland, who was presented with her medal from Australia Post Area Manager, Tim Lennon.