NSW ready for Marie Little Shield success

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New South Wales are ready to defend their title when the 2016 Marie Little OAM Shield kicks off on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August at Netball Central in Sydney.

Whilst NSW have welcomed some new faces, most of the team will be returning from their 2015 campaign. The team are more excited than ever to compete at the national event, which provides an opportunity for women with intellectual disabilities to compete at a national level.

Queensland and Western Australia will bring teams to the competition for the first time in 2016, joining NSW, South Australia and Victoria who have each won the title in the preceding three years.

Two new teams means more matches and NSW Coach Jenny O’Keefe believes all teams will be challenged to go the distance over the weekend.

“It will be a very different competition this year, probably the survival of the fittest.”

“We have developed some incidental training methods to improve the girls’ fitness, which we’ve enjoyed creating.”

Inspired by Australia Post One Netball Community Awards winners like Kur-rin-gai Netball Association, who have provided a weekly netball competition for all abilities players for over ten years, more and more netball Associations are creating programs and competitions to ensure everyone in their community, regardless of their ability, can play netball.

“With 4.2 million Australians living with a disability, it’s important to provide different netball programs and opportunities to suit varying needs,” said Netball Australia General Manager of Community Engagement, Julia Symons.

“From introductory Inclusion NetSetGO programs to the Marie Little OAM Shield, we hope that players with intellectual disabilities can see a pathway to progress from their local Club or Association to the national level at the Marie Little OAM Shield.”

The Marie Little OAM Shield will commence at 9am on Saturday 20 August at Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park, with the Grand Final to take place at 2pm on Sunday 21 August. Spectators are welcome and entry is free. Follow Netball Australia’s Twitter account for score updates throughout the competition.