Brisbane association highlights its diversity

Australia Diamonds and the Malawi QueensGame 2

Netball strives to be a sport that provides a safe, enjoyable and inclusive environment and Brisbane’s MacGregor Netball Association is one of thousands around Australia that boasts players from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

Located in Brisbane’s south, MacGregor is made up of 26 clubs and boasts more than 1200 players, coaches and umpires in a range of competitions from ANZ NetSetGo! through to seniors all year round.

The association also enters representative teams in Netball Queensland competitions and currently has four players in contention to make state underage teams in 2014.

MacGregor was one of five lucky grassroots netball clubs chosen to be part of the Foxtel Diamonds for Dreams program during the recent Coles Netball Test Series.

The association received $3000 from Australia’s Test match against Malawi on the Gold Coast, which president Terri Noakes said would help assist with accrediting their umpires and coaches.

“Without them you can’t exist as an association and they do a great job,” Terri said. “We have got a lot of young umpires coming through and we’re trying to get a lot of them up to their national badges.”

Run totally by volunteers, every club is active in the local community encouraging potential players to come down and be part of a growing association.

Terri said one club – Saints – has strong links to a local primary school Our Lady of Lourdes and has been able to encourage new members from a diverse range of backgrounds to join its teams and develop stronger links to their community.

“Some are really good players. It’s great to watch them out there playing. We have a lot of different cultures (involved),” she said.

MacGregor is also the home base of Queensland’s Association of Deaf Netball and some of its members play in the night season competitions under the watchful eyes of officials specifically trained in the use of flags for umpiring the deaf.

Players with a disability are encouraged to join and are fully integrated into appropriate teams.

Terri has been involved with the association for almost 30 years and been president since 2002. She still coaches a junior side with her club – Storms – as well as association representative sides and said she gets satisfaction by watching the development in players.

“I’ve always enjoyed netball,” she said. “(I enjoy) keeping so many girls involved in the sport and the improvement you see out of them from one week to the next.”

Overall, Foxtel contributed $14,000 from its Diamonds for Dreams program.

The other clubs chosen were:

  • Adelaide Test – Garville Netball Club
  • Melbourne Test – St Mary’s Netball Club
  • Canberra Test – Divas Sports Club
  • Wollongong Test – Bankstown City Netball Association