Alongside week seven of the Australian National League, another fierce state versus state rivalry will take to the courts of the Anne Clark Centre in Sydney showcasing the best netball players with an intellectual disability from around the country, in the inaugural Marie Little OAM Shield.


Teams representing New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria will battle it out over an intense, one-day round robin competition, hosted by Netball NSW and supported by AUSRAPID and Netball Australia. AUSRAPID Incorporated is a national organisation that aims to increase the sporting and recreational opportunities for all people with an integration disability within Australia.

“We’re proud to support the inaugural year of the Marie Little OAM Shield, named after a pioneer of netball for players with an intellectual disability,” Anne-Marie Phippard said, Head of Sport Development at Netball Australia.

Marie Little OAM was a founder of AUSRAPID in 1986 and has dedicated her working life to improve the lives of people with an intellectual disability, using the medium of sport.

Determined to change the mindset of previous thinking relating to sport for people with a disability, Little lobbied various national sporting bodies, including Netball Australia, to ensure their sports were available to all Australians.  She will be attending the competition in Sydney to present the winning team with their medals, along with the Shield carrying her name.

CEO of AUSRAPID Robyn Smith believes the competition is an important opportunity, not only for the current state team members, but also for aspiring netball players with an intellectual disability. “The competition is an opportunity to showcase the vast talents and passion of players with an intellectual disability and their desire to play netball like everyone else.”

SA Rubies team member Alexandra Connell is excited about the event and is looking for success at the event in Sydney. “I’m really looking forward to travelling to Sydney to play…and win!”

The Victorian team is also looking forward to the competition, thanks to the support of the netball community and their new commercial sponsor.

“Netball Victoria is proud of our 2013 All Abilities State Squad. The team members have demonstrated great leadership and development through the course of their training. We are very fortunate to have the support of the netball community behind us, along with our new sponsor, Independence Australia,” said Netball Victoria Community Development and Participation Manager, Stacey O’Neill.

Captain of the NSW team, Sarah-Jayne Forrest, is also excited about the competition. “There is a lot of excitement and nerves from the players but that should settle once game day comes. I am looking forward to catching up with the teams from last year and having fun,” she said.

For more information about the Marie Little OAM Shield, please email Kristy Guthrie on