Sydney’s Anne Clarke Centre played host to the best netball players with an intellectual disability from around the country on Sunday as they took to the court vying for the inaugural Marie Little OAM Shield.
While the competition has been running for a few years, 2013 was the first year that Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia played for the Shield, named in honor of the founder of AUSRAPID.
Marie travelled across from Adelaide to watch the action and present the Shield to the winning team – which happened to be Victoria in a closely fought contest.
The three states played four matches each over a round robin format with Victoria and South Australia finishing on the same amount of wins.
Victoria narrowly edged out South Australia on their for and against goal percentage to take out the 2013 Shield, continuing their domination of the All Abilities national competition in recent years.
The Victorian players, coaching staff and team managers were all smiles as they collected their gold medals and the Shield. South Australia claimed silver as runners-up.
The matches were played concurrently with games in the final round of the Australian Netball League and players from the Southern Force, Victorian Fury and Netball New South Wales’ two sides came across to support their state teammates.
NSW Swifts and Australian Fast5 shooter Carla Dziwoki also attended the event, assisting with the medal presentation and supporting the New South Wales team from their bench.
AUSRAPID Chief Executive Officer Robyn Smith paid tribute to Marie for her tireless community work.
“Marie Little has dedicated her working life to improve the lives of people with an intellectual disability using sport as the medium,” she said.
“Netball is her passion and AUSRAPID used netball as the first national sport to include players with an intellectual disability.”
Netball Australia’s Community Engagement Manager Julia Symons said this year’s event was an outstanding success.
“We hope to see more States and Territories bringing their teams to the competition next year,” she said.
“We want this competition to truly reflect the talent of players with an intellectual disability from all eight States and Territories.
“We’ll also be looking to secure a sponsor for next year’s Shield, which will provide national exposure for the competition and its supporters at a grassroots and elite level.”