Not only did they re-enter the next year, the team from the Blue Jays Netball Club (pictured right) has continued to return every year since and will again be part of a record number of entrants taking part in the 2014 NetFest event on the Gold Coast in October.
The `Blue Raptors’ are one of 261 teams that have entered this year’s event, being held between 16-19 October and team member Mischelle Tickner said it’s an event the group looks forward to every year.
In 2011, Tickner said their team contested division one traditional competition and quickly discovered they were way out of their depth.
“We got thumped every match but the teams we were playing against actually started helping us out on court, giving us tips,” Tickner said.
“It was incredible that first year. But it also showed us the spirit of the festival and the incredible people who are part of it.
“There’s a real generous feeling there among everyone, it’s fun and the atmosphere is incredible.”
The team all met while playing Wednesday night and Saturday netball in Brisbane. While some team members now live in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, they all fly back to be part of NetFest.
“We’ve pretty much had consistent team members (every year),” Tickner said. “We might have had one or two changes because of injury or whatever.
“On court we’re still a very competitive bunch. Off court, everyone is having such a good time.
“In 2012 we played a team from South Australia in a final and last year they came over and caught up with us and said hello which was nice.”
The team always brings along a BNA umpire every year and Tickner said meeting Australian legends Liz Ellis and Sharelle McMahon – NetFest’s ambassadors – has also been a highlight of their appearances.
There’s over 200 women and mixed teams taking part in the traditional outdoor tournament this year with 57 entered for the beach netball competition.
Keep an eye out for information on the Saturday night NetFest Party with tickets available soon, the annual Thursday night celebrity beach netball match, competition handbook, and further event details.